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The Islamic 

The inspiring 

al-Imam al-Waqidi 

The Islamic Conquest 
of Syria 

A translation of Futuhusham: the inspiring history 

of the Sahabah's & conquest of Syria as narrated 

by the great historian of Islam, 

al-Imam al-Waqidi 

Translated by 
Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi 



Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. 


Translator's Foreword v 

Map : Middle East xiii 

Map : Roman Syria xiv 

Part 1 : Damascus 1 

Part 2: Hims 151 

Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 251 

Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 373 

Part 5: Antioch 457 

Appendices 577 


translator's foreword 

Futuhusham is an Arabic book by al-Imam al-Waqidi describing the 
Sahabah's & conquest of ash-Sham (which today includes Syria, Lebanon, 
Palestine, Jordan and parts of Arabia, Iraq and Turkey). Having been 
requested to translate this book into English, I accepted primarily to earn 
Allah's pleasure from whatever good might arise from it and also to attain 
two secondary goals. 

Firstly, Rasulullah H said with regard to loving the Sahabah &, "Whoever 
loves them, loves them because he te*es meT^G^-itinis book can be used to 
inculcate the love of the Sahabah 4*> in the reader's heart, love for Rasulullah 
iH is also increased. This subject needs no elaboration since 'Ulama have 
extensively dealt with it. 

However, the second goal of making Muslims realise the importance of 
History needs more elaboration. Muslims are generally ignorant of their 
history, thus developing an inferiority complex towards the West. This is, in 
fact, a deliberate strategy by the West. In the past, great 'Ulama of all 
mathahib have rendered service to the science of History. Ibn Khaldun al- 
Maliki is globally recognised to be the father of the principles of studying 
history. Ibn Jawzi al-Hambali noted, "A faqih has to have knowledge of other 
sciences like history..." The Mufassir, Ibn Kathir ash-Shafi'i put great effort 
in compiling his celebrated history book, 'Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah'. 
Similarly al-Imam al-Bukhari also saw the need for studying and compiling 
works on history. Today we feel qualified to dissect the works of these Ulama 
and pick and choose what we want. Thus we will quote the Tafsir of Ibn 
Kathir and the Hadith of al-Bukhari but never spare a glance at the Histories. 
What authority do we have to decide that such-and-such a subject must be 


preserved while other sciences of our ancestors should be thrown away? 
Mawlana Abu al-Hasan 'Ali an-Nadwi was one of the greatest Hanafi 'Ulama 
of our time and both 'Arabs and Indians acknowledge his status, but would 
he have attained this status if he had not mastered History? Amongst his most • 
popular compilations are Tarikhul-Islam (on the life of the Prophet S). An 
important benefit of studying History is that it is necessary for the 
preservation of Hadith. Thus the Muhaddith Ibn Hajr al-'Asqalani says in 
Nukhbatul-Fikr, "Breaks in chains of narrators are discovered by knowing 
that the narrators did not meet. There is therefore a need to know History." 

Mawlana an-Nadwi narrates an example of the use of History to the 'alim - 
the Jews produced a scroll of crumbling paper with writing in the old script. 
It claimed that Rasulullah S had exempted the Khaybar Jews from payment 
of Jizyah and was signed by Sa'd bin Mu'ath <&. 'Ulama unversed in History 
gave fatwa that they should be exempted. Ibn Taymiyah however declared it 
a fake based on his knowledge of History - Sa'd died before the Battle of 
Khaybar so he could noiTTaTe~Sf*nKi the treaty! 

Allah &| Himself makes use of History to remind us of His favours. For 
example, Allah lists in the Quran various favours He bestowed upon Banu 
Israel during their history. 

If one considers the number of historical events mentioned in the Quran, one 
will realise that for a clear understanding of Tafsir some knowledge of 
History is essential. The same also applies to understanding Hadith. 

It can also be inferred from the Quran that an important function of History 
is for us to take lessons and rectify ourselves. Thus Allah often refers to past 
events by way of warning, for example: 



Has the news of those before you not reached you - the nation 
ofNuh 'Ad and Thamud? [9:69] 

The Prophets also adopted this approach and reminded their people of the 
past. Thus Shu'ayb 3SSI said to his people, 

-u*o j«^sa^ -by ^y Uj ~A^ ^y y ^ ^y jl ^ 

my people! Let not my opposition cause you to suffer a fate 

similar to that of the people of Hud, Nuh or Sdlih and the 

people ofLut are not far off from you. [11:89] 

The believer at Fir' awn's court also warned his people of past punishments, 

And the Believer said, "O my people! Verily 1 Juar for you a 

fate like that which befell the groups. Like thejbte of the 

people of Niih, 'Ad, Thamud and those who came\0er 

them..." [40:30] \ 

These verses amply demonstrate the admonitory nature History is supposed 
to have on us, but unfortunately we rarely take heed ofijistory. x 

One of the saddest events in the History of Islam is the loss of al-Andalus 
[now Spain and Portugal]. This was an Islamic land with a majority Muslim 
population. The Muslims were defeated and Islam banished until not a single 
Muslim remained in the land. Five hundred masajid were converted into 
churches. All the causes for al-Andalus's collapse can be found amongst us 


today - laziness for Jihad; lack of inviting to Allah; the Muslim governments 
not implementing Shari'ah; drinking of wine; Muslims helping Christian 
armies against other Muslims etc. It is sad that we do not pay heed whereas 
our enemies study these events. VT Rajashekar, the editor of Dalit Voice 
noted, "Islam's ejection from Spain was a subject for keen study by the Hindu 
extremists in the 30's and the Muslims in India are totally ignorant of the 
History of Islamic decline in Spain and the events surrounding it." Will we 
wake up before disaster hits us too? 

It is commonly acknowledged that by pondering over the Creation, 
recognition of the Creator is gained. Allah iSS says: 

Verily in the creation of the Heavens and Earth and in the 

alternating of night and day are signs for the ones of 

intelligence... [3:190] 

However, few "realise that Allah 3k is free from time and space restrictions 
which are also creations. So time and its passage (i.e. History), if pondered 
over, is also a means of gaining His recognition if we ponder over Allah's 
planning. Allah & says, 

0& jfy, (£*J\£j*4^ : <_/0^' JJ *L*-^' -^j_j? J*^ jt^ 

- * >'. i tf - -^' '.Tf -■'ji'' 
(JjJbu L«^» 4juai (_Ju I jojIi > a » 

He regulates every affair from the Heavens to the Earth then it 

goes up to Him in one day the length whereof is 1000 years of 

your reckoning. [32:5] 



One tafsir of this verse is that one thousand years before an event comes to 
pass Allah && creates such things which eventually leads to its materialisation 
one thousand years later. Thus an examination of such events will make one 
realise that there is a Power higher than Man which controls events - that 
there is one All-Powerful Creator, Allah. 

Let us take half of one thousand years and examine how Allah used the tribe 
of Khuza'ah for five centuries (525 years) to implement Rasulullah's S 
conquest of Makkah 

In 120 A.D., the impending bursting of the great Marib Dam led to the 
dispersal of the Saba Nation of which three tribes (Aws, Khazraj and Banu 
'Uthman) headed for Yathrib (now Madlnah). On the way, Banu 'Uthman 
broke off from the other tribes and settled down in Marr azh-zhahran and 
were hence named Khuza'ah (the seceders). Marr azh-zhahran was close to 
Makkah so Khuza'ah were in a position to conquer the Holy City and rule 
there for two hundred years. Qusayy, the chief of Quraysh, married Hubba 
bint Hulayl, daughter of the chief of Khuza'ah, and conquered Makkah in 
440 A.D. Their son, 'Abd Manaf, was the next chief and then, after him, 
Hashim bin 'Abd Manaf. A man named Nawfal usurped Hashim's son, 
'Abdul Muttalib, of his position and so Khuza'ah again entered Makkah's 
history and entered into alliance with Banu Hashim in support of 'Abdul 
Muttalib whom they regarded as the grandson of their son, 'Abd Manaf. 

According to the Treaty of Hudaybiyah which Rasulullah S signed with the 
Quraysh, each tribe could join the Muslims in alliance or they could i^ : /tfk 
Quraysh. Lineage played a great role in 'Arab politics and since Khuza'ah 
had close relations with Rasulullah ®, the grandson of 'Abdul Muttalib, and 
were already allies of the tribe, Banu Hashim, Khuza'ah joined the Muslims 
while their enemies, Banu Bakr, joined the Quraysh. In 8 Hijri, Banu Bakr 
and Quraysh jointly attacked Khuza'ah thus breaking the treaty and so in a 
process that led back 525 years, Khuza'ah joined Rasulullah ® to conquer 
Makkah in Ramadan 8 Hijri. "And Allah is the best of planners!" 

Sulayman al-Kindi (Translator) 
21 Jumada al-Ukhra 1423 A.H. 


Discrepencies in translation 

The reader's pardon is sought for any human errors which are bound to occur 
in translating this book. However, it must also be noted that different copies 
of ancient 'Arabic manuscripts often differ widely. This should be borne in 
mind when comparing the translation with 'Arabic originals, if differences 
are found. However, if any clear mistakes are found the translator would 
appreciate being informed thereof. The author's sparse chapter headings are 
unsuitable for an English book. The translator has therefore created chapters 
and divided the book into five parts at his own discretion. 

Note of thanks 

We firstly thank Allah and then all else who assisted in any way in this 
translation. Special help was rendered by: 

1) Abu Humayra 

2) Abu 'Abdirrahman 

3) Mawlana Muhammad Wadiwala 

4) M. H. 

5) B.V. 

6) Jet Printers 
, ,7~H^dil Wadi 

8) Abu'Aliyah 

9) Teacher Isma'Tl Sahib 

10) Abu Muhammad 

11) Nizham Rasila 

Al-Imam al-Waqidi 

The author of this book is al-Imam Abu 'Abdillah Muhammad bin 'Umar al- 
Waqidi al-Madani who was born at the beginning of 130 Hijri in al-Madinah 
al-Munawwarah. His surname is derived from his grandfather's name, 
Waqid, and thus he became famous as al-Imam al-Waqidi. He began his 


studies in Madinah. Amongst his prominent teachers were Ibn Abi Thahab 
Ma'mar bin Rashid, al-Imam Malik bin Anas and al-Imam Sufyan ath- 
Thawri. Initially he earned a living as a wheat trader, but when a calamity 
struck he migrated to Iraq in 1 80 Hijri during the reign of Mamun ar-Rashid. 
There Yahya al-Barmaki welcomed him due to his great learning and he was 
included as one of Mamun's elite. He was soon appointed as judge and held 
this post until his death on 11 Thul Hijjah 207 Hijri. He is buried in the 
graveyard of Khayzaran. 

The Imam was both a Muhaddith and Historian but since he concentrated on 
History, his hadith narrations need to be scrutinised before acceptance 
whereas he is doubtlessly acknowledged as a master of History. Besides 
Futuhusham, al-Imam al-Waqidi also wrote: 

• Al-Maghazi an-Nabawi (Campaigns of the Prophet i&) 

• Fath Ifriqiyah (Conquest of North Africa) 

• Fath_al-'Ajam (Conquest of Iran) 

• Fath Misr wal-Iskandriyah (Conquest of Egypt and Alexandria) 

• Akhbar Makkah (Narrations of Makkah) 

• At-Tabaqat (The Generations) 

• Futuh al-'Iraq (Conquest of Iraq) 

• Sirah Abi Bakr wal-Wafat (Life and death of Abu Bakr 4&) 

• Kitab as-Sardah (Birth of the Prophet ®) 

• Tarikh al-Fuqaha (History of the Jurists) 

• Kitab al-Jamal (Battle of the Camel) 

• Kitab as-Siffin (Battle of Siffin) 

• Maqtal al-Husayn (Massacre of Al-Husayn <&) 

• Tafsir al-Quran etc. 




The word 'Syria' as used in this book refers not to the area of the modern 
republic, but to the larger ancient region called 'ash-Sham' in 'Arabic. It 
bears great significance in Islam viz. the Quran calls it a 'Blessed Land.' In 
it is al-Masjid al-Aqsa; it is home to more Prophets than any other land; many 
Prophets are buried there, such as Ibrahim SS8I; many Sahabah are buried 
there, such as Mu'awiyah 4t>; Syrian 'Ulama are countless, for example, al- 
Imam an-Nawawi. Syria has produced many great warriors (as-Sultan 
Nuruddin) and martyrs (ash-Shaykh Abdullah al-Azzam). 'Isa 9S3 will 
descend in Damascus and have his capital at Baytul Muqaddas; ad-Dajjal will 
be slain at Lud; the Abdal (a special group of saints) are mostly found in 
Syria; and Syria is the Place of Gathering for Judgement Day. 

'Arabic benedictions appearing after names 

sallalldhu 'alayhi wa sallam, Allah's salutations and peace be 
upon him i.e. the Prophet Muhammad % 

'alayhis saldm, peace be upon him (a prophet or angel) 

<&S$> radiyalldhu 'anhu, may Allah be pleased with him (a sahabi) 

radiyalldhu 'anhum,may Allah be pleased with them (sahabah) 



O Allah! If this book finds acceptance in Your Court then convey the reward 
of it to the soul of Abu Basir & and to the souls of all pious believers of the 
Kindah tribe. 



• Palmyra 

£ /Al-Qaryatayny. 
.*3' / ■ Damascus' '••. 

BayturMuqaddas 4 ^J> 


• As-Samawah.-' 
>. .*...•••' 

Note the thousands of kilometres 

of harsh, empty desert the Sahabah 

crossed to bring us this Din 








£** Bayrut 
q> Sidon 

,-S Tyre 

O Acre 

J}' Tiberiis • 0^ 

>^ Caesarea< 




Al- LathiqTyah 

J • Hamah 

• Ar-Rastan 

• Hims 

Tripoli • Palmyra 

• Al-Qaryatayn 
• Ba'labakk 

■ Damascus 

Ghazzah** Baytuf ^luqaddas 

Yarmuk River 

• 'Amman 







1. Prelude 

2. Abu Bakr 4s> summons the Yamanis for Jihad 

3. Battle of Tabuk 

4. Romans annihilated 

5. Abu Bakr 4& summons the people of Makkah for Jihad 

6. Abu Bakr 4» appoints 'Amr 4& as commander 

7. Heraclius sends 100,000 against 'Amr 4& 

8. War in Palestine 

9. 'Amr's 4» letter to Abu 'Ubaydah 4* 

10. Battle of Banu Salif Hillock 

1 1 . Khalid 4& crosses the desert 

12. Busra conquered 

1 3 . Story of Romanus 's wife 

14. Romans reinforce Damascus 

15. The Roman generals argue 

16. Sergius's speech to Khalid <& 

17. Khalid 4& and Calius duel 

18. Khalid & and Uriel duel 

1 9. Battle of the Monastery 

20. The siege of Damascus 

21. Heraclius sends an army to Damascus 

22. Khalid <&> consults Abu 'Ubaydah & 

23. Dirar's 4s- expedition 


24. The mysterious warrior 

25. Search for Dirar <&> 

26. Dirar 's 4& rescue 

27. Heraclius letter to Warden 

28. Muslims receive intelligence on Ajnadayn 

29. Paulus and his wife 

30. The Battle of Shakhura 

3 1 . Bravery of the Muslim women 

32. Sahabah 4 reach Ajnadayn 

33. The Battle of Ajnadayn 

34. Dirar's 4& valour 

35. Dirar & and Steven duel 

36. The conspiracy 

37. David and Khalid's & dialogue 

38. Fruits of treachery 

39. Khalid <& and Warden's dialogue 

40. Death of Warden 

4 1 . Khalid's 4> letter to Abu Bakr & 

42. Abu Bakr's 4fe letter to Khalid * 

43. Return to Damascus 

44. The second siege of Damascus 

45. The Damascenes go to Thomas 

46. The attack on Damascus 

47. The night attack 

48. The surrender 

Part 1: Damascus 

49. Surrender and Conquest 

50. Thomas leaves Damascus 

5 1 . Jonah and his wife 

52. Khalid's 4s& dream 

53. Yunus and the princess 

54. Herbius is killed 

55. Khalid's <&> gift to Heraclius 

56. The martyr 

57. Khalid's * letter 



1) Prelude 

Abu Bakr bin Ahmad narrates from 'Umar bin 'Uthman bin 'Abdurahman, 
Nawfal bin Muhammad, Muhammad bin 'Abdillah bin Muhammad, Rabi'ah 
bin 'Uthman, Yunus bin Muhammad, Main bin Yahya bin 'Abdillah, 
Muhammad bin 'Umar ar-Rafiqi, Mu'ath bin Muhammad al-Ansari, 
Abdurahman bin Abdil-Aziz, Abdullah bin Majid et ah 

Rasulullah S passed away and Abu Bakr 4& became the Khalifah. Abu Bakr 4& 
eliminated the false prophets, Musaylamah and Shuja' Walud, while Tulayhah fled 
to Syria. He conquered Yamahah and destroyed Band Hanifa and the 'Arabs 
submitted to him. The Khalifah then resolved to invade Syria and fight the Romans. 
Hence, he gathered the Sahabah & and said, "O people, may Allah have mercy upon 
you. Remember that Allah has blessed you with Islam, made you the Ummah of 
Muhammad S, increased your Faith and Conviction and granted you complete 
victory. He has said: 

Today I have perfected for you your religion and completed my 
favour unto you and have chosen Islam far you as a religion... 


Know that Rasulullah H intended to wage Jihad in Syria and desired that effort 
should be made in that direction but then Allah recalled him to Himself. So be clear 


on this point, that I intend sending a Muslim army together with their families and 
dependants to Syria. Rasulullah S told me before his demise, 

'I was shown the Earth and saw its East and West and that my Ummah would soon 
conquer whatever I was shown.' 

So you should all come to an agreement and express your opinion to me. May Allah 
have mercy upon you." 

The Sahabah & unanimously replied, "O Khalifah of Rasulullah H, we are under 
your command. We are prepared for whatever you order because Allah has made it 
incumbent upon us to obey you by saying: 

^VT Jjij J^jJi iji^ij 3ft \^jJ\ °\jL\; iyji 4k 

Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority 
over you... [4:59] 

2) Abu Bakr 4b summons the Yamanis for Jihad 

Abu Bakr & was very pleased with this reply and therefore wrote to the kings of 
Yaman, the 'Arab chiefs and the people of Makkah: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : 'Abdullah al - 'Atiq bin Abi Quhdfah. 

To : All Muslims. 

As-saldmu 'Alaykum. 

All Praise to Allah alone and salutations to His Messenger. 
Know that I intend sending an army to Syria to expel the 
Disbelievers and those who do not tread the straight path from 

Part 1: Damascus 

there. Whoever amongst you intends to wage Jihad should 
hasten to obey Allah and make preparations for Allah says: 

J~~- jj iSwijIj a-^siI'j^L IjJ g'?-j ^LflJJ liti>- Ijjijl 

... 4A)I 

Go forth lightly armed or heavily armed and wage Jihad with 
your wealth and lives in the path of Allah... [9:41] 

Abu Bakr & gave these letters to Anas bin Malik <&, the attendant of Rasulullah ft, 
and awaited their reply. 

Jabir bin 'Abdillah 4k narrates: 

Anas 4k returned after a short while with the glad tidings that the people of Yaman 
were coming. He told Abu Bakr 4k, "Whoever I read your order out to immediately 
obeyed Allah and accepted your order. These people will present themselves with 
their equipment and war materials and armour. O Khalifah of Rasulullah ®, I have 
presented myself ahead of their coming to give you glad tidings. In obeying you they 
accept having their hair dishevelled and their bodies covered in dust. They are 
extremely brave and excellent horsemen - the chiefs of Yaman. They will soon be 
arriving with their families and dependants. You should prepare to meet them." 

AM Bakr 4k was extremely pleased to hear this. 

The next day, signs of the coming of the Mujahidin were seen and so the people of 
al-Madinah informed him. Abu Bakr & ordered them to mount their conveyances 
and went with them out of al-Madinah to welcome the arrivals. 

Soon legion after legion of Mujahidin arrived, each tribe with their emblems and 
with their flags in their hands happily marching behind each other. The first Yamani 
tribe to come was Himyar, wearing good armour and carrying expensive swords or 
Arab bows. Their chief, Thul Kala' al-Himayri <*>, was wearing a turban. He 
approached Abu Bakr 4k, greeted him, identified his abode and tribe and then 
recited the following poem: 


s-JjJL OjJUJIj jJ^Jl JjJ jjpij .^JUSfL, ^^^^ dbd 

Himyar is my tribe, and these people you see 

Are first in battle and high in genealogy. 

Lions of bravery, in courage they are leaders. 

With curved blades they strike great armed warriors. 

Our habit is battle, firm whether we kill or fall 

Thul Kald al-Himayri is commander of all. 

Our army has come and on the Roman Empire is our sight 

Syria will be made home with our might. 

For us is Damascus. 

We will fling her people into an abyss! 

Hearing this, Abu Bakr 4» smiled and said to 'Ali <&, "Abu al-Hasan, have you not 
heard Rasulullah ft saying, 'When the Himayr come with their women carrying their 
children then rejoice at Allah's help for the Muslims against all Polytheists.' " 

'Ali 4& replied, "You have spoken the truth. I have indeed heard Rasulullah ft 
saying this." 

Anas 4> narrates: 

When the Himayr passed by with all their families, dependants, provisions and 
equipment, the Mathhij tribe came after them. They were riding extremely fine, 
expensive horses and carried sharp spears in their hands. Their leader, Qays bin 
Hubayrah al-Muradi approached Abu Bakr «&, introduced himself and his tribe and 
then recited this poem: 


Part 1: Damascus 

Our Army hastened unto thee, 

Kings ofMurdd are we, 

We have come so that you can see, 

How we kill Romans with the swords we carry. 

Abu Bakr <$, made du'a for them and they went ahead. The tribe of Tayy came next. 
Their chief, Habis bin Said at-Tai, wanted to dismount and walk to the Khalifah. Abu 
Bakr 4& took an oath and prevented him from doing so. When Habis came near they 
greeted and shook hands and Abu Bakr 4s> thanked them. Next came an enormous 
contingent of the tribe of Azd under the command of Jundub bin 'Amr ad-Dawsi. 
Amongst them was Abu Hurayrah & carrying a bow and quiver. Abu Bakr * burst 
out laughing upon seeing him like this and asked, "Why have you come? You do not 
know the art of warfare!" 

Abu Hurayrah & replied, "Firstly, I wish to participate in the reward of Jihad, and 
secondly, if Allah wills, I will get to eat Syrian fruits!" 

Abu Bakr & laughed a lot at this reply. 

After this, Banu 'Abs arrived under the command of Maysarah bin Masruq al-'Absi 
followed by the Kinanah under Fathm bin Ashyam al-Kinani. All the tribes of Yaman 
who came brought their children, wealth, women, horses and camels etc. along with 
diem. Abu Bakr 4& was very happy to see this display and thanked Allah. 

The tribes encamped separately around al-Madinah. Since the army had become 
numerous, food and space became insufficient. Food supplies became low and there 
was difficulty in finding grain and pasturage for the horses. Their chiefs therefore 
consulted each other and decided to ask the Khalifah to despatch them to Syria due 
to the problem of overcrowding at al-Madinah. They went to him, made salam and 
sat down. They then looked at each other wondering who would speak first until 
eventually Qays bin Hubayrah said, "O Khalifah of Rasulullah S, you summoned us 
to a task to which we responded immediately in obedience to Allah and His Rasul S 
and out of eagerness for Jihad. Through Allah's grace our army is prepared and all 
war provisions made. However, our troops are undergoing difficulty since your city 
cannot accommodate all the horses, mules and camels, nor are all the men's needs 
fulfilled. We therefore request you to either permit us to fight, or if the decision for 
war has been cancelled, then permit us to return to our homeland." 



In this way each chief in his turn expressed the same idea. Upon hearing them all, 
Abu Bakr 4*> replied, "By Allah! I had no intention of giving you difficulty. I merely 
desired that all the contingents should arrive so that the army's numbers should be 

They said, "There remains no tribe still to come. All have arrived. Therefore place 
your trust in Allah and send us." 

3) Battle of Tabuk 

Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr 4fe immediately arose and walked to the Mujahidin 
camp outside al-Madinah. 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'Ali, Sa'id bin Zayd bin 'Amr bin 
Nufayl, the tribes of Aws and Khazraj & and others accompanied him. Upon seeing 
him the Mujahidin rejoiced and welcomed him with shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" Their 
shouts filled the sky and were so loud and numerous that they echoed off the 
mountains so that the very mountains replied, "Allahu Akbar!" to the shouts of the 
Mujahidin. The Khalifah climbed an elevation from where he gazed at the waves of 
ranks which covered every inch of the earth. His face glittered with happiness and 
he prayed, "O Allah, grant them patience. Help them. Do not make them prisoners in 
the claws of the Disbelievers." 

After this du'a he called Yazid bin Abi Sufyan * and gave him a battalion flag and 
command over 1,000 horsemen. Thereafter, he gave a flag to al-Hijaz's famous 
horseman, Rabi'ah bin 'Amir <&> of Banu 'Amir tribe, also making him commander 
of 1,000 horsemen. Then he said to Yazid &, "Rabi'ah bin 'Amir is a man of great 
status and nobility. Be acquainted with his bravery and methods of attack. I place him 
under you, but you are to place him in every advance group. Consult with him and 
act upon his consultation. Do not oppose his opinion." 

Yazid * replied, "I readily accept all this." 

Yazid <& and Rabi'ah -sfe came on horseback at the head of the two armies to take 
leave of Abu Bakr 4* who went on foot with them. Yazid &> said, "O Khalifah of 
Rasulullah S, I fear Allah and feel ashamed before Him that we ride while you walk. 
Either mount or let us walk." He replied, "Neither will I ride, nor will you dismount. 
I hope for reward from Allah by means of this walk." 

Thus he marched until Thaniyatul Wada' where he stopped. Yazid <*> came and said, 
"O Khalifah of Rasulullah <&>, please advise us." 


Part 1: Damascus 

Abu Bakr & said, "When you leave a place do not cause the men difficulty in 
marching. Do not punish your men harshly. Consult them in every matter. Do not 
abandon justice and stay far from injustice and tyranny because no tyrant nation has 
ever obtained success nor been victorious over another nation. Act upon the Quran's 

*b JJa3 Ate I J! !>>cXa j\ JlxaJ lij^tX* ^1 jOjj} ?Vjj 

i i_<ya* i 

When you meet those who disbelieve in a battlefield, never 

turn your backs to them (i.e. flee). And whoever turns his back 

to them on such a day - unless it be a strategy of war, or a 

retreat to (his own) troops - has indeed drawn upon himself 

the wrath of Allah. . . [8: 16-17] 

That is to say, when you encounter the army of Disbelievers then do not flee for 
whoever flees, loses the battle. When you have obtained victory do not slay any small 
children, old people, women or pre-adolescents. Do not approach the harvests of 
trees. Crops should not be burnt nor fruit trees cut. Do not slaughter any animal 
which is impermissible. Do not break any agreement which you make with the 
enemy and after peace do not tear up your treaties. Remember that you will also meet 
such people who have undertaken monasticism in their monasteries, thinking this to 
be for the sake of Allah. Do not interfere with them for as long as as they choose this 
isolationism - do not destroy their monasteries and do not kill them. 

You will also meet such a Satanic people who worship the Cross. They shave their 
heads in the middle to expose their skulls. Cut off their heads until they accept Islam 
or pay Jizyah disgraced. Now I place you in Allah's hands, may He protect you." 

He then shook hands and embraced Yazid * and then shook hands with Rabi'ah * 
saying, "Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, show your bravery and intelligence in fighting the 
Romans. May Allah fulfil all your desires and forgive us all." 



The Islamic army then went towards its destination while Abu Bakr <& and his 
companions returned to al-Madinah. After reaching a short distance outside al- 
Madinah, Yazid 4fr increased his pace. Rabi'ah 4b objected, "Abu Bakr ordered you 
to go slowly without causing difficulty." 

Yazid 4b : It is true that he commanded this, but just as he despatched us, he intends 
despatching other armies too. I intend reaching Syria first so that by the time the 
others reach us we may have gained some victories. There are three benefits in this - 
firstly, Allah and his Rasul's S pleasure; secondly, the Khalifah will be happy; 
thirdly, booty will be obtained if Allah wills. 

Rati 'ah 4b : As you please. All power and might belong to Allah. 

So they took the secondary road of Wadiyul Qura so as to reach Damascus by way 
of Tabuk and al-Jabiyah. 

Christian 'Arabs living in al-Madinah gave intelligence of this invasion to the Roman 
Emperor, Heraclius. He assembled the Imperial officials and said, "O Romans, know 
that your Empire, wealth and lives are facing impending destruction. For as long as 
you maintained the laws of the Gospel, you defeated whichever king attacked you 
and your dominations in Syria. You will recall that Kisra attacked you with the 
Persian army but had to flee in defeat. The Turks also attacked you but were 
similarly defeated. The Jaramiqah invaded but you drove them back. Now you have 
brought about changes and innovations in your religion and chosen the path of 
tyranny. You have now become criminals in the Eyes of God and in retribution He is 
sending such a people against you who are of no note or rank. No nation was 
regarded as weaker than them so it never occurred to us that they would dare to attack 
us in our own territories. Actually it is nothing but famine and hunger which has 
driven them to us and their Prophet's successor has sent them to snatch our lands and 
drive us out." 

Heraclius then told them whatever the spies had told him, to which the Imperial 
officials unanimously replied, "Send us against them and they will never fulfil their 
desires. We will drive them back to their Prophet's city, demolish their Ka'bah, 
uproot its foundation and not spare a single one of them." 

When Heraclius observed their eager faces, weighed their plans against caution and 
resolution and found them ready, he chose a cavalry of 8,000 daring and brave men. 
Over them he appointed four great experienced commanders - Batlic; his brother 
Sergius; Chief of Police, Luke son of Samuel; and the Governor of Ghazzah and 
Ascalon, Salya. These four were the epitome of bravery and intelligence. They put 


Part 1: Damascus 

on their armour, prepared their goods and displayed their adornment. The Chief 
Priest then prayed for their victory and assistance, "O God! Help whichever party is 
on the Truth." 

Incense was burned in the churches and holy water sprinkled over them. Caesar 
himself came to bid them farewell and so they left following Christian 'Arab guides. 

Yasir bin Husayn narrates: 

Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4& reached Tabuk three days before the Romans. On the fourth 
day, the Sahabah of Rasulullah S intended to advance but saw dust rising in the 
distance. Allah then inspired them with a clever strategy. Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4s> 
ordered Rabi'ah bin 'Amir <*> to hide in ambush with 1,000 men while he himself led 
1,000 to face the enemy and drew them in rows. He gave some advice and mentioned 
Allah's favours, then said, "Remember that Allah has promised you victory in most 
places. He has sent angels to your aid and says in the Quran: 

<U)I O^k ajji^sa "A23 O-lp 4jJ£ <ji3 ,V» &^= 

How often a small group overcame a mighty force by Allah 's 
leave? And Allah is with the patient ones. [2:249] 

Our Master, Rasulullah S, said that Paradise lies under the shadow of swords. O my 
brothers, the very first army to make Jihad against the Romans is this very army of 
yours. Whichever Muslim army may come to join you will come to help you while 
you remain the original force. So it is required of you to display that which the 
Muslims are expecting of you. The enemy is confronting you, therefore be careful 
that they do not have hopes of killing you. Help Allah's Din and He will help you." 

While Yazid 4fe was advising them, the Roman vanguard, followed by the main body 
arrived. Seeing a small 'Arab force, they thought this to be the entire 'Arab army. 
They shouted and said to each other, "Encircle those who have come intending to 
snatch your Empire, dishonour you and slay your kings. Draw help from the Cross 
so that it may come to your assistance." They then attacked. 



The Sahabah & responded with great courage and thus the battle began and endured 
for some time. The Romans gained the upper hand due to their greater number and 
thought that they would capture the Muslims, when suddenly Rabi'ah <&> and his men 
emerged riding 'Arab horses. They loudly recited salutations on Rasulullah and 
shouted "Allahu Akbar!" as if they were thundering clouds. Rabi'ah * attacked 
fiercely and the banner of Tawheed was raised. As soon as the Romans saw the 
ambush they lost courage and Allah placed such terror in their hearts that they broke 
rank and fled. Batlic was encouraging his men to continue fighting when Rabi'ah *fe 
spotted him and deduced from his demeanour that he was a commander of the army. 
With great daring, he speared the Roman with such force that the spear penetrated 
him through one side and emerged from the other. When the Romans saw him fall 
unconscious, they recklessly fled and abandoned the battlefield to the Sahabah &■ 

'Abdullah bin Hilm narrates: 

Allah destroyed 2,200 Romans in this battle while 120 Muslims were martyred, 
mostly from the Yamani tribe, Sakasik. 

Sergius addressed the defeated Romans, "How can I show my face to Caesar 
Heraclius when the audacity of a small Muslim force has destroyed our great 
champions. Our blood stains the Earth and our corpses lie in heaps. I cannot return 
until I either avenge my brother or join him in death." Hearing this the Romans began 
rebuking each other and returned to save face. They erected their tents, arranged their 
equipment and prepared for a fierce fight. When all the equipment was arranged and 
the camp firmly entrenched, a Christian 'Arab, Qadh bin Wathilah, was called and 
told, "Go to the Muslim camp and tell them to send a wise, intelligent and 
experienced man to us so that we may ask him what their goal is." 

Qadh reached the Muslims on a light-paced horse. When some Aws tribesmen saw 
him, a stranger in their midst, they asked, "What do you want here?" He replied, 
"Our commander of the army calls for one of your wise and experienced men so that 
he may investigate why you have interfered in Imperial affairs." 

Rabi'ah <& : I will go. 

Ydztd & : Rabi'ah, it is not appropriate for you to go since you killed one of their 
great officers in yesterday's battle. 

Rabi'ah * : Allah says in the Quran: 


/ / 

Part 1: Damascus 

M Js>j llJj^ }A 111 %"\ Cr,Z-=> C "}) l-l.^ij J JS 

Say: Nothing will afflict us except that which Allah has 
decreed for us. He is our Protector. [9:51] 

I advise you and the Muslims to closely observe me. If I attack the Romans because 
they betray me, then fight them too. 

He then mounted his horse and, bidding the Muslims salam, made for the enemy 
camp. When he came near the enemy tents, Qadh said, "Honour the Imperial army 
by dismounting." 

Rabi'ah ^ replied, "I am not someone who leaves honour and chooses disgrace. It 
can never happen that I hand over my horse to anyone else. I will not dismount at any 
place except the tent entrance. If this is not acceptable to you then I will fight you 
because you are the ones who called us - we sent no message to you whatsoever." 

Qadh informed the Romans of this. They consulted each other and said, "The 'Arabs 
are firm and true in their word. Let him come as he pleases." Thus he came 
mounted right up to the tents where he dismounted and, with the horse's bridle in his 
hand, sat down cross-legged. 

Sergius : My dear brother 'Arab, we have always considered you to be weak. It never 
occurred to us that we would be fighting each other and that you would in fact attack 
us. What is it that you want? 

Rabi'ah 4fe : We desire that you accept our Din and be reciters of the same 
Declaration which we recite. If not, then you will have to pay Jizyah. If you have a 
problem with that also, then the sword is the best decider. 

Sergius : What harm is there if instead you go and attack the Persians? We should 
make peace and befriend each other. 

Rabi'ah & : Compared to you Persia is further off and Allah has commanded us: 



«- . > 

jU^=J! ^i fi>& ^l/^ 1 IjM l£^ Oi^ 1 sK 

Fig/j? //lose Disbelievers who are nearest to you and let them 
find you harsh against them. [9:123] 

Sergius : What! Has a book been revealed to you? 

Rabi'ah 4& : Just as the Gospel was revealed to your Prophet. 

Sergius : Perhaps we could make peace on these terms - we will give each of your 
men one dinar and a camel-load of grain; for your commander 100 dinar and 100 
camel-loads of grain. We will sign a peace treaty to the effect that you will not fight 
us nor will we fight you. 

Rabi'ah <&> : This can never be. I have already stated that your first choice is Islam, 
second Jizyah, third the sword. 

Sergius : We can never leave our religion and become Muslims since we do not 
consider any religion better than ours, and to die is better than paying you Jizyah. 
You cannot know how to fight better than us, for in our army are sons of Roman 
generals and Amalakites, men of the battlefield, all experts in both sword and spear. 

He then called for a priest named Sicilia to come and debate with 'this bedouin'. 

4) Romans annihilated 

Caesar Heraclius had sent a priest with the army who was knowledgeable in religion 
and debate. When he came Sergius said, "O holy father, question this man as to his 
religion and then tell us what you think." 

Priest : O 'Arab brother, it is written in our Scriptures that God will send an 'Arab 
prophet from the Hashimi family of the Quraysh tribe whose sign of recognition will ^ 
be that God will summon him to the Heavens. Did this happen to your prophet? i 

Rabi'ah 4fe : Allah did indeed summon our Prophet S to the Heavens and has 
mentioned in the Quran: 


Part 1: Damascus 

... bxLjU ^v* J4J>J -><»Jj>- LSjiJ (_£4JI t^aS^I JL><JLJI 

Pwre is ^a? 5emg who took his slave on a night journey from 

the Sacred Masjid (in Makkah) to the Furthest Masjid (in 

Jerusalem) whose precincts we have blessed so that We may 

show him Our signs. [17:1] 

Priest : It is in the Scriptures that it will be compulsory for that Prophet and his 
followers to fast one month of the year called 'Ramadan'. 

Rabt'ah 4& '■ That is also correct. One month of fasting has been made compulsory 
upon us as mentioned in the Quran: 

... o^^Jlj CS^ 

Ramadan is that month in which the Quran was revealed. It is 

a guidance for humanity and distinguishes between truth and 

falsehood... [2:185] 

In another place He says: 

Fasting has been prescribed upon you just as it was prescribed 
upon those before you. [2:183] 

Priest : We have also read in our Scriptures that if one of his followers performs a 
good deed, then the reward of ten good deeds is written for him. Whereas if he 
commits an evil, only one is written down against him. 

Rabi'ah & : The Quran explains it like this: 



bjX&.-i^Aj LjiL ^| kjkr 

ife w//o performs good receives ten the like thereof and he who 

performs evil is only accountable for the like thereof and they 

will not be wronged. [6:160] 

Priest : It is written that God orders his followers to send salutation upon him. 

Rabi'ah &> : Yes, He has ordered it in these words: 

^ f v 

y4//a/z and His Angels send salutation upon His Prophet. O you 

who believe convey salutations and greetings of peace upon 

him. [33:56] 

The priest was amazed to hear this answer and said to the commander of the army, 
"Truth is with these people." 

After this dialogue, a courtier told Sergius, "This is the bedouin who killed your 
brother yesterday." 

Upon hearing this, Sergius blazed with rage until his eyes turned red with fury and 
he intended to assault Rabi'ah 4t. Rabi'ah 4t however realised his intention and got 
up with lightning speed. He grabbed a sword and struck Sergius with such force that 
he fell to the ground. The Romans charged at him, so he jumped onto his horse 
shouting, "Is there any challenger?" and faced them for combat. 

Yazid bin Abi Sufyan & saw the battle and shouted, "O Muslims, the enemy has 
betrayed a Companion of your Prophet ®. Attack at once!" The Muslims attacked 
and the two forces were completely interlocked. The Romans were firmly holding 
their battle stations when suddenly a second Muslim force under Shurahbil bin 


Part 1 : Damascus 

Hasanah 4s>, the scribe of Rasfllullah $1, arrived. When the Muslims saw their 
brothers coming, their spirits rose and they fought so zealously that their swords were 
in a constant meeting with enemy heads. Out of the 8,000 Romans, not a single one 
survived. Tabflk was far from Syria so the 'Arabs were able to pursue and slay them 
all and capture all their wealth, Turkish horses, tents and treasure. They met 
Shurahbil and his companions and exchanged salam and du'a. After erecting camp, 
Shurahbil 4® consulted Yazid and Rabi'ah & about the booty and the two agreed, 
"All booty captured from the Romans should be sent to the Khalifah so that the 
Muslims may see it. This will encourage them to participate in Jihad and send their 
troops here." 

Shaddad bin Aws *te and 500 horsemen took all the booty, except for weapons and 
war equipment, to the Khalifah. The remaining troops stayed at Tabflk awaiting the 
arrival of more Muslim armies. 

When the Muslims of al-Madinah saw Shaddad bin Aws <&> arriving with the booty, 
they raised cries of, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" 

Abu Bakr 4t> enquired as to the shouting. They replied, "Shaddad has returned with 

In the meantime, Shaddad <$> and his men came, dismounted and went to the Masjid 
to perform Tahiyatul Masjid and offer salam at the grave of Rasulullah H. They then 
went to Abu Bakr <&> to give him the good news and related the whole incident with 
the Romans. Abu Bakr 4& prostrated out of thanks and considered this to be a good 
omen. He used the booty to prepare another Muslim army and wrote to the people of 
Makkah to encourage them to participate in Jihad. 

5) Abu Bakr & summons the people of Makkah for Jihad 

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful 

From : 'Abdullah al- Atiq bin Abi Quhdfah 

To : The people of Sacred Makkah and surrounds. 

As-Saldmu 'Alaykum 

All praise belongs to Allah alone and salutation be to His 
Messenger. I have prepared to wage Jihad on the enemies of the 



Muslims and to conquer Syria. lam informing you of this so that 
you may immediately comply with Allah 's command: 

J~~* (j iSwijIj ^ < ^a.| j.*L; !jJLgij>-j j'-^j liL&»- Ijj^j) 

Go forth lightly armed or heavily armed and wage Jihad with 

your wealth and lives in the path of Allah. That is better for 

you if only you knew. [9:41] 

This verse was revealed in your city, so you are more 
responsible than others to comply. Whoever shows himself true 
by implementing this is the best person. Whoever assists the Din 
of Allah will be assisted by Allah. As for him who remains aloof 
from this task, Allah does not care for him. Race towards a 
Paradise filled with grape-vines prepared by Allah for the 
Mujdhidin, Muhdjirin, and Ansdr etc. 

Sufficient is Allah for us, and what an excellent Disposer of 
affairs He is! 

He stamped it with Rasulullah's ft seal and sent it with 'Abdullah bin Huthafah * 
to Makkah. When Ibn Huthafah .& reached Makkah he shouted loudly. When the 
people had gathered around him, he read it aloud. Suhayl bin Amr, Harith bin Hisham 
and 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl & stood up and said, "We accept the invitation of he who 
calls to Allah and His Rasfll and accept the word of Rasulullah ft as true." 

Harith and 'Ikramah 4= then said, "By Allah, we will definitely help His Din. Why 
do we lag behind others? While it is true that they have overtaken us by reaching their 
goal before us and we have been deprived of that great virtue, at least we can have 
our names included with theirs by joining them." 

'Ikramah 4& took fourteen men from his tribe, Makhzum, while Suhayl bin 'Amr .& 
went with forty youths from Banu 'Amir, including Harith bin Hisham. Others from 


Part 1: Damascus 

Makkah joined them until they became an army of 500 going to al-Madinah. Abu 
Bakr .$> wrote to the Hawazin and Thafiq tribes who sent 400 men to al-Madinah. 

'Abdullah bin Said narrates from Abu 'Amir: 

We were in Taif when 400 men of Hawazin and Thafiq immediately responded upon 
reading Abu Bakr's 4fe letter. On the way we met the men from Makkah so that we 
became a total of 900. Each of us said, "I am enough to confront 900 Roman 
horsemen all on my own." 

When we arrived at al-Madinah, we encamped at Baqi'. Abu Bakr *&> was informed 
and he ordered, "Leave your camp and go straight to where your brothers, Shurahbil 
bin Hasanah, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan and Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, are." 

At that time, they were all waiting at the border. Upon reaching them, we waited 
there for twenty days during which time other delegations came and joined us. 

Shaddad bin Aws 4*> narrates: 

Abu Bakr & came one day with a few Muhajirin and Ansar and gave a befitting 
speech while standing. After praising AMh and sending salutation on Rasulullah S 
he said, "O people, amongst the obligations which Allah has decreed upon the 
Muslims is Jihad, the reward for which is very great in the Eyes of Allah. Purify your 
intentions and have only good desires so that your rewards may increase. O slaves of 
Allah, hasten to fulfil the obligation of your Rabb and the Sunnah of your True 
Guide. There can only be one of two outcomes to the endeavour upon which you 
embark - victory pr martyrdom. Whoever is martyred will meet those who have died 
before him and his reward is upon Allah!" 

'Abdullah bin Said narrates: 

I said to Abu 'Amir, "Describe Abu Bakr." 

He said, "He had a wheatish-coloured complexion, thin tall body and his beard was 
not very thick." 

Abu 'Amir narrates: 

400 men came from Hadramawt also. 



Abu Bakr <&> sent a letter to Usayd bin Salamah al-Kilabi and Banu Kilab 
summoning them to partake in the Jihad against Rome. Dahhak bin Sufyan bin Awf 
4fe stood to address the gathered tribe, "O Banu Kilab, make fear of Allah your 
distinguishing sign and respond to the summons of the Khalifah by coming to the 
assistance of the Din of Muhammad S." 

An old man who had travelled several times to Syria stood up and said, "O Dahhak, 
you encourage us to fight such people who have prestige, power, implements of war 
and innumerable horses. How can the 'Arabs find the strength to fight them when we 
are few, hungry and weak?" 

Dahhak replied, "The victories of Rasulullah S were not based on numbers or 
implements of war but on raising the Word of Allah which is the actual reason why 
he was sent. You will probably recall that at Badr, Rasulullah % had only 313 men 
against the Quraysh who had a numerous army, implements of war, horses, countless 
weapons and were short of nothing. For as long as he remained on Earth, victory and 
conquest were always his. Now look at his Khalifah, Abu Bakr «&>. You saw how, as 
soon as he was appointed, he defeated the Apostates with the sword. Remember that 
for as long as you do not help the Muslims, as Himyar and Tayy are doing, you will 
never have respect in the eyes of the Khalifah and the Muslims. By Allah! Do not 
disgrace yourselves amongst the 'Arabs. You have more horses and camels than 
other 'Arabs, not to mention the number of armies and weapons. Fear Allah and obey 
the Khalifah's order immediately." 

This speech roused Banu Kilab who hastened to al-Madinah mounted on camels. 
They also brought other camels to be used as beasts of burden and had 'Arab horses. 
They entered al-Madinah wearing their weapons. At that time Abu Bakr 4& was 
coming out to send off an army to Syria. He was very glad to see them and ordered 
them to join the rest of the army. He presented the flag to Dahhak bin Sufyan -*> who 
in turn presented him with horses and camels he had brought with him to be used 
against Rome. Abu Bakr ^ was happy to see all the horses reddish-white and said, 
"I have heard Rasulullah H say that the horses of Yaman have white legs." 

The gathering army caused a noise and commotion. The children of the Muhajirin 
and Ansar joined them, resulting in a huge force assembling at Jurf. Abu Bakr 4» 
appointed Abu 'Ubaydah bin Jarrah 4& as Commander-in-Chief. An honourable 
youth, Sa'id bin Khalid bin Sa'id bin al-'As 4fe, had complained to Abu Bakr 4s>, 
"When you intended to appoint my father, an officer in your army, as commander of 
the Reconnaissance, the Muslims objected and so you dismissed him although he had 
dedicated himself to the Path of Allah. Similarly I have dedicated my life to the Path 


Part 1: Damascus 

of Allah and have always obeyed your summons and given you my allegiance. I have 
never swayed. If you should now make me commander of the Reconnaissance, I have 
hope that Allah will not make me helpless." 

Because he was more experienced than his father and an able horseman, Abu Bakr 
appointed him as the commander of Reconnaissance Forces. He gave him a flag and 
command over 2,000 cavalry. When 'Umar 4b heard of Sa'id's 4b request and 
acceptance thereof, he became angry. He went to Abu Bakr 4b and said, "O Khalifah 
of Rasulullah S, you are giving the flag to Sa'id whereas others are better suited than 
him. By Allah! I know that whatever he said against enemies was directed at none 
other than me. By Allah! I have never said a word against his father nor committed 
any act of enmity against him." 

This confused Abu Bakr 4b since he felt bad about deposing Sa'id & as well as 
opposing 'Umar 4b because firstly, 'Umar had firm faith in his heart; secondly, he 
always gave good advice; and thirdly, Rasulullah held him in high esteem. 
Perplexed, he went to 'Aishah and told her the whole incident. She advised, "My 
father, you know that 'Umar always keeps the welfare of the Din at heart. His words 
are always well-intended and he bears no ill-will against any Muslim." 

Abu Bakr 4b called Abu Arwa ad-Dawsi and ordered him, "Go to Sa'id bin Khalid 
and tell him to return the flag to me." 

'Abdullah bin 'Umar 4fc narrates: 

I was also part of that army when Abu Arwa ad-Dawsi conveyed Abu Bakr's orders 
to Sa'id bin Khalid. At that time Sa'id 4b was leading us in Salah at al-Jurf. When he 
heard the order, he immediately returned the flag saying, "I have dedicated my life 
for the service of the Din and have placed myself firmly in the Path of Allah. I will 
fight under the banner of Abu Bakr with a clean heart in any place and under 
anyone's command." 

6) Abu Bakr 4&> appoints 'Amr 4fc> as commander 

While Abu Bakr 4b was pondering over who should be appointed as commander of 
Abu 'Ubaydah's Reconnaissance, Suhayl bin 'Amr, 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl and Harith 
bin Hisham & arrived. They were carrying their weapons and desired that they 
should be given command of the army. Abu Bakr 4» perceived this and therefore 
consulted 'Umar 4b who replied, "I do not find this appropriate." 



Harith turned to him and said, "0 Abu Hafs (i.e. Umar &>), you were a sword against 
us before we embraced Islam. Now that Allah has guided us, you still have no regard 
for our relationship whereas Allah has commanded the fulfilling of relatives' rights." 

'Umar & : I consider those who are first in Islam more appropriate. 

Suhayl 4a : If that is your criterion then we will not disobey you in any manner. 
However much time we spent in pre-Islam fighting against Rasulullah %, we will 
now spend twice that amount and whatever effort we made fighting him, we will now 
double our efforts against the enemies of Allah. 

'Ikramah •$> : O people, I make you my witnesses before Allah that I dedicate myself 
to the Path of Allah and hand my life over to Him. Myself, my companions, my 
children and wealth are all for Allah. We will never leave Jihad. 

Abu Bdkr 4* : O Allah, grant them greater than what they expect. 

Thereafter, he handed the flag to 'Amr bin al-'As bin Wail as-Sahmi and said, "I 
appoint you as commander of the army of the people of Makkah, Thaqif, Taif, 
Hawazin, Banu Kilab and Hadramawt. When you reach Palestine, write to Abu 
'Ubaydah, 'If you require any assistance then I am here.' Do not do anything 
without his consultation. If you separate then may Allah bless whatever the two of 
you intend." 

'Amr 4* went to 'Umar * and said, "You know my harshness against the enemy and 
my patience in Jihad. It would be well if you ask the Khalifah to make me 
commander over Abu 'Ubaydah. You know my rank with Rasulullah S and I hope 
that Allah will grant victory through me and destroy the enemy." 

'Umar 4> : What you say is correct and I do believe you but I cannot assent to you 
commanding Abu 'Ubaydah. I consider him higher ranking than you. He preceded 
you in Islam and Rasulullah S said, "Abu 'Ubaydah is the trustworthy one of this 

'Amr 4& : If I command him then he will not be humiliated nor will there be any 
decrease in his status. 

'Umar 4» : How sad, O 'Amr, that you desire worldly honour and prestige. Fear 
Allah. Choose the honour of the world to come. 

'Amr 4» : The matter is as you have stated it. 


Part 1: Damascus 

'Amr 4& ordered the army to march and so they left under his command in this order: 
Makkah, Banu Kilab, Asnahi, Hawazin and Thaqif. The Muhajirin and Ansar stayed 
to join Abu 'Ubaydah. 'Amr 4s> made Said bin Khalid * head of his Advance 

Abu Darda & narrates that he was part of 'Amr's & army when it departed and 
heard Abu Bakr's £> departing advice: 

Fear Allah in secret and open. Maintain your modesty towards 
Him in private because He always watches you. You know very 
well that I have appointed you over such people who are more 
honourable and pious than you. Perform all acts to earn the 
Hereafter and to please Allah. Be like an affectionate father 
towards your men. 

Do not race in your march. Enquire as to their welfare. Amongst 
them are different kinds of people including frail and weak ones, 
and you have a long journey ahead of you. Allah is the Helper 
of His Din and will make it triumph over every other religion 
even if the Polytheists dislike it. Do not take your army on the 
route which Yazid bin Abi Sufydn, Rabi'ah bin 'Amir and 
Shurahbil bin Hasanah took. Instead, take the Aylah route and 
you will, if Allah wills, reach Palestine. Upon reaching there, 
appoint spies and informants and keep intelligence about Abu 
'Ubaydah 's condition. If he is victorious then start campaigning 
in Palestine, otherwise if he needs assistance then send armies 
one after the other under Suhayl, 'Ikramah, Harith and Sa 'id 
bin Khalid. 

Do not be lazy or negligent in the task to which you have been 
appointed. Avoid indolence as far as possible. When you see the 
greater enemy number do not say, "What trouble has Abu Bab- 
bin Abi Quhdfah trapped us in. He has sent us against an enemy 
it is impossible to fight against, " because, O 'Amr, you have 



seen many times how small numbers have taken on greater 
numbers of polytheists. Remember the Battle of Khaybar and 
you will recall how the Muslims gained victory before your very 

O 'Amr, there are with you such Muhdjirin and Ansdr who 
fought at Badr. Respect and honour them. Fulfil their rights and 
do not be arrogant in your leadership towards them thinking, 
"Because Abu Bdkr appointed me over them I must be better 
than them. " Beware the deception of the ego. Consider yourself 
but a fellow soldier with them. Consult them in whatever task 
presents itself. Saldh is the greatest thing. Call the athdn as soon 
as the time of Saldh sets in. 

Never pray any Saldh without athdn. Pray when the whole army 
has heard it. Those who pray with you in congregation will have 
attained a great virtue while those who pray in their tents will 
receive their full reward. Listen attentively to ambassadors and 
do not put them off for the sake of others. Always remain on 
your guard against the enemy. Emphasise the importance of 
reading the Quran to your companions. Appoint watchmen and 
security and oversee them. 

Spend time with your companions at night. Neither punish too 
harshly nor give so much leeway which will embolden them 
against you. As far as possible avoid whipping anyone - lest he 
should join the enemy and help them against you. Do not 
investigate anyone too deeply, but accept him at face value. 
Make effort in your work. Have faith in Allah when facing the 
enemy and keep this advice in mind. Emphasise to your 
companions that they should not fall to extremes and if they do 
they should be punished. When advising them be brief. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Rectify yourself so that our subjects may be rectified, for a pious 
ruler is closer to Allah than an ordinary person. I have 
appointed you as commander over the 'Arabs, so recognise the 
worth of each tribe and clan. Treat them as an affectionate 
father would. Investigate the condition of the whole army at the 
time of marching. Send scouts ahead and keep those whom you 
can rely upon at the back for security. Be patient when you meet 
the enemy and be firm. 

Do not turn back and expose yourself as cowardly, weak and 
helpless. Quran readers should be particular in reciting the 
Quran. The men should be prevented from discussing the Pre- 
Isldmic period since this will lead to enmity. Turn away from 
worldly beauty and adornment until you meet those who have 
gone before you, who died hungry. Join these people whom 
Allah has praised in the Quran: 

And we made them leaders guiding (mankind) by Our 

command, and revealed to them the doing of good deeds, 

performing saldh and paying zakdh and they were Our 

worshippers. [21:73] 

Abu ad-Darda & narrates: 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& was also present when Abu Bakr 4& was advising 'Amr bin al-' As 
4h. Thereafter he said, "Now leave with Allah's blessing and help. I advise you to fear 
Him, wage Jihad in His Path and fight the Disbelievers. Allah will certainly help the 
person who seeks His help." 



Al-Waqidi narrates: 

9,000 men under ' Amr 4b marched to Palestine. The previous day, the Khalifah gave 
Abu 'Ubaydah Jarrah 4b a flag and appointed him as Commander-in-Chief of all the 
Islamic armies. He ordered him to advance towards al-Jabiyah and said, "O 
Trustworthy one of this Ummah, you have heard my advice to 'Amr bin al-' As. I now 
bid you farewell." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b then departed while Abu Bakr 4k returned and called Khalid bin al- 
Walid al-Makhzumi 4b. He appointed him commander over Lakhm and Jutham as 
well as a cavalry of 900 men and gave him the black banner of Rasulullah &. These 
900 had demonstrated their daring and self-sacrifice in most battles they had fought 
with Rasulullah S. Abu Bakr 4k then said to him, "O Abu Sulayman (i.e. Khalid), I 
have appointed you over this army which you must take to Aylah and Persia. I have 
hope in Allah that he will conquer these lands through you. If He wills you shall be 

Khalid 4k then departed for 'Iraq. 

Ruwaym bin 'Amir narrates from Waqis bin Sayf ash-Shabkari: 

I was with the army which Abu Bakr 4b sent to Aylah and Palestine under the 
leadership of 'Amr bin al-As 4k, with Sa'id bin Khalid bin Sa'id 4k as flag bearer. I 
saw him waving the flag and reciting this poem: 

We are marching with a small army from the best nation, 

Against Disbelievers, Syria is our destination. 

They worship the Cross an evil people are they, 

I will cut them to the ground, with my sword I will slay. 

I will pierce them thoroughly with my spear, 

On the battle-field there is nothing I fear 

In this war Paradise is my aspiration 

And that with the pious be my resurrection. 

Ruwaym bin 'Amir says that he heard Marik bin Jundub narrating from reliable 
reporters of the conquest of Syria, that Shurahbil bin Hasanah 4k was reciting the 
above poem the day Abu Bakr 4k sent him after Yazid bin Abi Sufyan and Rabi'ah 
bin 'Amir &■ 


Part 1: Damascus 

Abu Bakr & was making du'a for the victory of the armies he had sent to Iraq and 
Syria and was most anxious about them. 'Uthman <$> perceived signs of this anxiety 
on his face and asked, "What troubles you?" 

Abii Bakr 4fe : By Allah! I know well that Rasulullah's & words are true. There can 
be no doubt whatsoever that we will conquer Rome and Persia but we do not know 
if that will be during this war or at some other opportunity, nor do we know which 
army will accomplish this. 

'Uthman & : That is true, but we should have hope in Allah. 

7) Heraclius sends 100,000 men against 'Amr 4fc 

That night Abu Bakr & dreamt that 'Amr bin al-'As * and his men were passing 
through a dark, narrow mountain-pass and were greatly worried. They wanted to 
leave the pass. 'Amr 4& spurred his horse and the others followed him. Suddenly he 
found himself in a lush green, wide place. He encamped and found great comfort. 
This dream greatly pleased Abu Bakr &. 'Uthman & interpreted it as victory for 
'Amr 4& and his army except it appeared that they would first have to undergo great 

In Pre-Islamic times and then continuing in Islam, traders would bring wheat, barley, 
olive-oil, raisins, apples and figs to sell in al-Madinah. These traders were present 
when Abu Bakr 4& was organising and despatching the army and thus heard the 
orders he gave to 'Amr bin al-'As & with regard to Aylah and Palestine. They went 
to inform Caesar Heraclius of this as well as of the defeat of the Romans at Tabuk. 
Heraclius assembled all his officials, war-experts and priests. He informed them of 
this saying, "O Romans, this is the matter of which I warned you some time ago. That 
Prophet's followers will soon seize my crown and throne and rule over this land. 
They cut to pieces your army at Tabuk. Muhammad's Khalifah has despatched an 
army which will soon arrive. You should maintain your respect and fight heart and 
soul to defend your religion, family, dependants, lives and wealth. If you slacken now 
then the 'Arabs will capture your empire and wealth." 

This news made them cry over their dead slain at Tabuk. Heraclius rebuked them, 
"You are men and you cry like this? Stop, for that is women's work. What you should 
now do is to gather your forces at Ajnadayn." The Prime Minister said, "We request 
that those people who gave you this information be brought so that they may be 
questioned." Heraclius commanded this and so a soldier brought a Christian from the 
tribe of Lakhm. 



Heraclius : How long is it since you left al-Madinah? 

Lakhmi : Twenty-five days. 

Heraclius : Who is the leader of the Muslims? 

Lakhmi : His name is Abu Bakr. He has collected an army and has sent it against you. 
I have examined them properly - they are energetic, cunning, prepared and firm. 

Heraclius : Have you seen this Abu Bakr? 

Lakhmi : Yes, in fact he purchased a shawl from me which he draped over his 
shoulders. He is an ordinary looking man with nothing to distinguish him. He roams 
the market wearing two cloths overseeing that the strong fulfil the rights of the weak. 
He treats weak and strong equally. 

Heraclius : Describe his features. 

Lakhmi : Tall, wheat-coloured, light-cheeked, thin. His finger-joints are wide and his 
teeth are beautiful. 

Heraclius (smiling) : So that is Muhammad's Khalifah about whom we read in the 
Scriptures. His successor will be black-eyed, tall, wheat-coloured like a lion. He shall 
conquer and expel his enemies from their lands. 

Lakhmi : I have seen such a person in his company who never separates from him. 

Heraclius : I am now fully convinced. Previously, I tried to make the Romans 
understand and invited them to salvation but none listened to me and they refused to 
obey. Now the Romans will be expelled very quickly from Syria. 

Heraclius had a golden cross made and handed it over to Rubius, the commander of 
the army, saying, "I have appointed you as commander of all my forces. Hasten 
towards the Islamic armies and prevent them from occupying Palestine because it is 
a beautiful, prosperous territory. In fact, our prestige and power rests on it." Rubius 
organised his troops and marched to Ajnadayn that same day. 

8) War in Palestine 

'Amr's 4& animals were weak and thin when he reached Palestine via the Aylah route. 
He encamped at a very lush place letting the horses and camels graze and so they 
recovered. One day the Muhajirin and Ansar gathered to consult each other on the 


Part 1: Damascus 

battle when suddenly 'Amir bin 'Adi, a distinguished and pious Muslim, arrived. He 
knew Syria's cities and roads well because most of his family and friends stayed 
there and he would often visit them. He was returning from there when the Muslims 
saw him and took him to 'Amr &. 'Amr * noticed a change in his face and 
exclaimed. "O 'Amir, what is the matter? Why are you so afraid?" 

'Amir : Behind me is a Roman army mounted on very fine horses smashing aside 
everything in their path. 

'Amr & : You have put the fear of the Disbelievers into the hearts of the Muslims. 
We seek Allah's help against them. Tell me, how many do you estimate them at? 

'Amir : O commander, I climbed up a very high mountain in order to estimate their 
numbers. Wadi al-Ahmar, a big valley in Palestine, was completely filled with their 
banners, spears and crosses. I think that they are no less than 100,000. That is all I 
could find out. I apologise for frightening the Muslims. 

'Amr 4* : We seek Allah's help, for all power and might belong to Him alone. O 
people, you and I are equal in the matter of Jihad. Seek help from Allah against the 
enemy and fight whole-heartedly in defence of the Din. Whoever is killed from us is 
a martyr and whoever remains is fortunate. Now tell me your opinions. 

Bedouins : O commander, take us to a jungle so that we can encamp in the centre. 
They will not have the audacity to attack us there and cannot leave their forts and 
towns. When they learn that we are encamped in the centre of the jungle, their unity 
will break and they will become negligent. We will then attack and if Allah wills, we 
shall be successful. 

Suhayl bin 'Amr &> : That is a cowardly opinion. 

Muhdjirin and Ansar 4* : We fought with Rasulullah S and with small numbers 
defeated great armies. Allah has promised you victory and commanded you with 
patience. Only patient ones are promised goodness. The Quran says: 



Fight those disbelievers closest to you and let them find you 
fierce against them. [9:123] 

And you know that we are already in enemy territory while they are thirsty for our 

'Abdullah bin 'Umar 4b : By Allah! I will not abandon fighting and killing the 
Disbelievers and will not sheath my sword. Whoever wishes to may return, but 
remember that whoever flees from this great task can never flee from Allah. 

'Amr 4b was pleased with what the Makkans and Ibn 'Umar 4* said and exclaimed, 
"O son of al-Faruq (i.e. 'Umar al-Faraq 4b), you have fulfilled my wishes and your 
tongue has expressed what is in my heart. I wish to send an advance-force of 1 ,000 
youths under your command to ascertain the position and condition of their outlying 
forces and so that you can tell us how to fight the enemy." 

Ibn 'Umar 4i> : Do this. My life is not so precious to me that I refrain from spending 
it in Allah's Path. 

'Amr 4* had a flag made for him and sent him off with 1,000 horsemen from Banu 
Kilab, Taif and Thafiq. Ibn 'Umar 4b travelled for the rest of the day and the whole 
night. In the morning, he saw dust rising in the distance. He said, "This dust foretells 
of an army. I think that this is the Roman Reconnaissance." He halted the army there. 
A group of bedouins said, "Permit us to go and investigate this dust-cloud." 

Ibn 'Umar 4b replied, "I do not consider it appropriate to split up for as long as we 
are uncertain as to what this is." 

The cloud approached and then dispersed to reveal the Roman Reconnaissance of 
10,000 horsemen which Rubius had sent ahead to investigate the Muslims. Ibn 
'Umar 4b said, "Give them no respite but attack them. After all, that is why you came 
here. Allah will help you against them. Remember that Paradise lies beneath the 
shadow of swords." 

The Muslims proclaimed, "Allahu Akbar! La ilaha illallah Muhammadur 
Rasulullah!" The very trees, stones and beasts replied to their cry. They 
immediately launched an attack- the first being Tkrama then Suhayl, then Dahhak 
bin Sufyan 4> roaring his challenge. 

The Muhajirin and Ansar *& then attacked. The two armies clashed, sword and spear 
doing their work. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Ibn 'Umar <& narrates: 

During the battle, I saw a bulky Roman horseman riding at the right and left flanks. 
It appeared to me that he must be the commander, although signs of fright of battle 
and cowardice were plainly visible on his face. His fat bulk gave him the appearance 
of a drunk, angry camel. I thrust my spear forward causing his horse to move back. 
I then held my spear back which made him think that I was fleeing and encouraged 
him to attack me. I put aside my spear, and drawing my sword, hacked at his spear. 
The spear-point fell off leaving him with a bare stick and so I struck a second blow. 
By Allah! I thought I had hit a rock and when a ringing sound reached my ears, I 
thought that my sword had broken. However, this was not so and it was as intact as 
before. The severity of the blow slaughtered the enemy of Allah and I struck again at 
bis shoulder- vein until he fell and I took off his armour. When the Disbelievers saw 
their leader fallen and slain, they became frightened and the Muslims began slaying 
them energetically. Congratulations to Dahhak bin Sufyan and Harith bin Hisham <$> 
who fought solely for Allah's pleasure. During the battle, I was entrapped in a 
difficult situation, but Allah soon granted the Muslims victory. Many Disbelievers 
were killed or captured. 

The Muslims gathered all the booty together and then said to each other, "We do not 
know how Allah has dealt with Abdullah bin 'Umar." Some said, "He has been 
killed." Someone said, "No, he has been captured." Some said, "Whatever Allah has 
decreed for him will be good due to his ascetism and worship." Someone said, "If 
Ibn 'Umar has been lost then this victory is not worth a strand of hair." 

I was standing behind a hillock hearing all this and then shouted, "La ilaha illallah 
Muhammadur Rasulullah," and emerged wearing my flag. They turned to me and 
asked, "O commander, where were you?" 

I replied, "I was fighting the enemy commander." Everyone made du'a for me and 
said, "Allah granted this victory through your blessing." 

I said, "No, it is your good fortune." 

The Muslims gathered the booty which included horses, weapons and money and 
600 captives. The following seven Muslims were martyred: (1) Suraqah bin 'Adi; (2) 
Nawfal bin 'Amir; (3) Said bin Qays; (4) Salim, the freed slave of ' Alim bin Badr al- 
Yambarlu'i; (5) Abdullah bin Khuwaylid al-Mazini; (6) Jabir bin Rashid al-Hadrami; 
(7) Aws bin Salamah al-Hawazini. 

Ibn 'Umar 4k led the Salatul Janazah and they were buried. 



The army cheerfully returned to 'Amr bin al-As 4a and reported to him. He was 
greatly pleased and thanked Allah. Then he called the prisoners and said, "Who 
amongst you knows 'Arabic?" 

Three Syrians admitted to knowing 'Arabic and so he asked them about their army 
and commander. They replied, "O 'Arabs, Heraclius has sent Rubius against you 
with an army of 100,000 men and has instructed him to prevent anyone from 
entering Aylah. Rubius's army is hastening, hoping to reach here by tonight. There is 
none in the Roman Empire equal to him in the art of warfare. He is most capable of 
taking you on and will destroy you all." 

'Amr 4* : I hope that Allah will slay him just as his companions have been slain. 

He then presented them with Islam but none accepted, so he turned to the Muslims 
and said, "The Roman army will soon be arriving in Syria to take revenge. If we 
release these captives, they will join the Roman army. Therefore, they will all be 
killed. Be prepared for it is most probable that the enemy is coming against us. If they 
confront us, then we will make life difficult for them. If they do not face us their 
power will decrease and if we advance against them then I have firm faith in Allah 
that He will grant us a victory such as that which He just gave before. Faith should 
always be kept in Him." 

Abu ad-Darda & narrates: 

That night we encamped there and in the morning we marched but a short distance 
when we saw the enemy approaching carrying nine crosses with 10,000 horsemen 
under each cross. When the two armies neared each other, we saw Rubius, who 
looked like a stallion, organising his army. 'Amr 4& too was organising his army. He 
put the right-flank under Dahhak bin Sufyan 4fc, the left-flank under Sa'id bin Khalid 
4», the rear-guard under Abu ad-Darda &>, while he himself stood with the Muhajirin 
and Ansar *$> at the centre. He ordered every Muslim to start reciting the Quran and 
said, "Allah is testing you in this virtuous deed so be patient in the face of difficulty 
and hope for reward and Paradise." 

Then he lined the men in war-formation. From a distance Rubius was observing the 
Muslim army, seeing that their formation was such that rein was touching rein, 
stirrup touching stirrup as if they were a strong fortress, and every soldier was 
reciting the Quran. Then he saw light shining on their horses' foreheads. This he took 
as an omen of his defeat and a Muslim victory and sensed terror in the heart of every 


Part 1: Damascus 

Roman at the Muslims. He awaited to see what the Muslims would do and his pride 
was shattered. 

Abu ad-Darda 4t> narrates: 

The first to go forward from the Muslims was Sa'id bin Khalid bin Sa'Td & who 
shared a common mother with 'Amr bin al-'As ^. He shouted, "Is there any 
challenger?" and attacked them right and left. He slew many of them and overcame 
their champions. Then he attacked a second time, penetrating their ranks and 
wreaking havoc. Eventually they gathered to attack him and martyred him. The 
Muslims, especially 'Amr 4», were grief-stricken. He said, "O no! O no! By Allah! 
O Sa'id, you have shown how to sacrifice life in the Path of Allah. O brave Muslims, 
who amongst you are brave enough to join me in an attack so that I can taste my fate 
and meet Sa'id?" Dahhak bin Sufyan, Thul Kala al-Himyari, 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl, 
Harith bin Hisham, Mu'ath bin Jabal, Abu ad Darda, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, Wasid bin 
Warim, Nawfal, Sayf bin 'Abbad al-Hadrami, Salim bin 'Ubayd, the Muhajirin, the 
veterans of Badr etc. immediately replied, "We are present." 

Ibn 'Umar <& narrates: 

We were seventy youths who charged so vigorously that we soon neared the enemy. 
However, they were like a mountain of iron and did not concern themselves about us. 
When we saw their firmness, we shouted at each other, "Cut down their mounts, for 
besides this we see no other way to destroy them." So we speared the bellies of the 
horses which then fell and so they attacked us. We, in fact the whole Islamic army, 
responded to their attack. Our force compared to theirs was like a white mark on a 
black camel. Our slogan was, "There is no deity but Allah. O Rabb, help the Ummah 
of Muhammad, salutations and peace be upon him." 

Abu ad-Darda £> narrates: 

We were so busy fighting that we did not even recite war-poems. So tumultuous was 
the battle that striking a blow, we could not be sure if a Muslim or a Disbeliever was 
struck. Although few in number, we remained firm-footed, placing our trust in Allah. 
Every Muslim struck with his sword, saying firmly from his heart, "O Allah, help the 
Ummah of Muhammad, peace and salutation upon him and his family, against those 
who have taken a partner with you." 



Ibn 'Uinar 4$> narrates: 

The battle continued until noon. I was reciting the du'a which Rasulullah S had 
taught and when I looked towards the sky, I saw gates. From the gates there emerged 
horsemen dressed in white carrying green banners with shiny points. A proclaimer 
announced, "O Ummah of Muhammad S, Allah has sent help to you." 

I said that this victory was due to the blessing of the du'a of Rasulullah S. 

By the Ka'bah's Rabb! In a short while I saw the Romans fleeing in confusion and 
the Muslims pursued them. An announcer proclaimed victory. Because our horses 
were faster, we managed to kill over 10,000 men. We pursued them until nightfall. 
'Amr 4&> was overjoyed with this victory and his heart remained with us during the 
pursuit in Palestine. 

'Amr bin 'Itab narrates: 

At that moment, I saw 'Amr bin al-'As 4& carrying the flag in his hand and his spear 
was hanging from his shoulder. He was clasping his hands saying, "May Allah return 
what has been lost to that person who returns my people to me." When the 'Arabs 
returned he said, "Whoever made effort and underwent difficulty for Allah's 
pleasure has pleased Allah. Was this victory which Allah granted you not enough that 
you had to go and chase them?" The Muslims replied, "We did not chase them for 
booty, but for Jihad." 

When they returned they were without worry, but when they started looking at each 
other they discovered 130 missing, including Sayf bin 'Abbad al-Hadrami, Nawfal 
bin Darim, Salim bin Ruwaym, Ashab bin Shaddad, some Yamanis and bedouins of 
Madinah. This saddened 'Amr <#> but after thinking, he said to himself, "O 'Amr, 
Allah intends some good for them but you reject this." 

Then after the athan and iqamah, all those Salah which were missed due to the 
battle were performed. 

Ibn 'Umar <*> narrates: 

By Allah! Due to fatigue, very few performed Salah behind 'Amr 4*, most prayed at 
their own places. Booty was also little. We then slept in our tents. In the morning, 
'Amr bin al-'As called out the athan and, after the Salah, ordered the booty and 
bodies of the martyrs to be gathered. So the people started searching and gathered 
130 martyrs, but could not find the body of Sa'id bin Khalid. 'Amr started searching 


Part 1: Damascus 

himself and then found him in a place where horses had continuously trampled the 
corpse, shattering the bones into small pieces. Seeing this, he began to weep 
profusely and said, "O Sa'id, may Allah, the Most Merciful of those who show 
mercy, have mercy upon you. I made a promise to Him but you fulfilled it." He put 
him with the other martyrs and ordered them to be buried, and then all the Muslims 
performed Salatul Janazah. (Sa'id^was 16- 18years old- translator's note). 'Amr 
* then ordered the booty to be brought to him and wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah bin 

9) 'Amr's & letter to Abu 'Ubaydah & 

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful 

From : 'Amr bin al-As 

To : The Trustworthy One of the Ummah, Abu 'Ubaydah 

I praise Allah besides whom there is no other deity and send 
salutations on His Prophet. I had arrived in Palestine and 
fought against a Roman army of 100,000 men under the 
command ofRubius. Allah granted us such a victory that 11, 000 
Romans were slain. 130 Muslims were granted martyrdom and 
have been buried in that part of Palestine conquered at my 
hands. If needed I can join you. Convey my saldm to all 
Muslims. Was-saldm 'Alaykum wa rahmatulldhi wa barakdtuhu. 

'Amr & sent this letter with Abu 'Amir ad-Dawsi. At that time, Abu 'Ubaydah & was 
at the border and had not yet entered Syria but had divided the army as per Abu 
Bakr's 4s> instructions. When Abu 'Amir came, he thought that he was Abu Bakr's •$> 
messenger and so he asked him, "Abu 'Amir, in what state have you left the land?" 

Abu 'Amir : All is well and there is additional good news - this letter is from 'Amr 
bin al-'As describing the victory Allah granted at his hands. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & read the letter and immediately fell down in prostration out of 



Abu 'Amir : By Allah! Good, pious people have been martyred. Amongst them is 
Sa'id bin Khalid bin Sa'id. 

Sa'id's 4fe father, Khalid 4&, was also present. He became bewildered and shrieked. 
He was so grieved that all the Muslims too began crying. Khalid 4& then prepared his 
horse and mounted it intending to visit his son's grave in Palestine. Abu 'Ubaydah <& 
asked, "Where are you going, Khalid? You are one of the pillars of the Muslims." 

Khalid 4& replied, "I intend visiting Sa'id's grave and hope to join him too." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& remained silent and then wrote the following letter to 'Ann: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

Abii Bakr4e> has given you orders. If he has ordered you to join 
me, then come. If he has ordered you to remain where you are 
then stay there. Convey my saldm to all the Muslims. 

Was-saldmu 'alayka wa rahmatulldhi wa barakdtuhu. 

He then gave the letter to Khalid bin Sa'id 4& who went with Abu ' Amr ad-Dawsi to 
'Amr's .#> army. 

10) Battle of Banu Salif Hillock 

Khalid <& made salam to 'Amr 4& and weeping, gave him the letter. 'Amr ^ went 
forward, shook his hands and seated him with honour. Thereafter, he consoled him 
with regard to his son and advised him to have patience. 

Khalid 4*> '■ Did you people see that Sa'id reddened his spear and sword with the 
blood of Disbelievers? 

Muslims : Yes, he fought bravely and really made Jihad. He was not deficient in any 

He then asked about the location of his grave, to which he went. He stood at its side 
and said, "O my son, may Allah grant me patience with regard to you. Surely we 
belong to Allah and to Him we return. By Allah! If he grants me the necessary 
strength arid courage, I will definitely avenge you. I trust in Allah that He will reward 
you well." 


Part 1: Damascus 

Then he said to 'Amr 4&, "I wish to go searching the Disbelievers in a night-raid. 
Perhaps booty will be gained or enemy soldiers met who can be killed in revenge." 

'Amr & said, "May my mother be sacrificed for you, my brother. Fighting will begin 
very soon. When it breaks out, you can fight whole-heartedly and not spare a single 

Khdlid 4» : I take an oath that whether anyone joins me or not, I will certainly go. 

He then prepared his battle-gear intending to go alone but 300 young horsemen from 
the Himyar tribe went to 'Amr * and said, "Permit us to go with Khalid." He gave 
permission, so they left that very day. When they arrived at a meadow, they decided 
to encamp there so that the horses could graze and then they would travel at night. 
Suddenly Khalid <&> saw some old men in the fissure of a high mountain and said to 
his men, "I suspect that they are enemy spies. It should not be that the enemy 
descends upon us." 

They replied, "They are on top of the mountain while we are here in an open field. 
How do we reach them?" 

Khalid & said, "Alright, you stay here until I return." 

He then dismounted, tied his turban, strapped his sword to his shoulder and said, "We 
can assume that they have not yet seen us, because if they had seen us, they would 
not have stayed. Whoever wishes to sacrifice his life in the Path of Allah should do 
as I do." Ten men got ready and went with him to the mountain. When they reached 
the Disbelievers they were still in their place. Khalid 4» exclaimed in a loud voice, 
"Catch them! May Allah bless your courage." The Muslims pounced upon them, 
killing two and capturing four. Khalid questioned them and they replied, "We are 
inhabitants of Dayrul Faqi', Jami'ah and Kafr al-'Azizah. Since the 'Arabs invaded 
our land, we have experienced great hardship and so most people have fled and taken 
refuge in forts. We came to take refuge here considering this mountain safe. We 
climbed to the top to ascertain conditions when you came and caught us." 

Khdlid 4b : Where is the Roman army? 

Christians : They have reached Ajnadayn and have been placed under the governor 
of Palestine in order to protect Jerusalem. The army as well as refugees have 
gathered at Ajnadayn and some soldiers have come to us to gather army supplies. 
They have taken cattle and mules as beasts of burden but fear that the 'Arabs will 
attack. Besides this, we know nothing except that there is no doubt that they have 
gone out today to gather supplies. 



Khdlid 4b : By the Rabb of the Ka'bah! That is booty. O Lord of all the worlds, help 
us against those people. What road are they taking? 

Christians : This very road which you are on because this is the wide road and they 
have gathered the supplies at a sand-hill called Tall Bani Salif (Banu Salif s Hillock). 

Khdlid 4= '■ What do you say about Islam and what are your beliefs? 

Christians : We only know about Christianity. We are mere farmers. Killing us will 
not benefit you in any way. 

Khdlid 4b : They should be released. 

Muslims : They should be released on condition that they take us to the supplies. 

They agreed to this and walked ahead. When they reached the road, Khalid & sent 
someone to fetch all the men who were left behind in the field. When all had 
gathered, they moved quickly with the four Christians guiding them. When they 
approached the hillock, they saw the Romans loading the supplies on beasts while 
600 horsemen were stationed around the hillock. Khalid & called out to the Muslims, 
"Remember that Allah has promised you help against the enemy, and remember that 
Jihad has been made compulsory upon you. The enemy is in front of you. Hope for 
reward and make full effort. Listen carefully to what Allah says: 

p j>* f&i*. - i - . ^- \ '»* ^ -ft i i -^l* , 

Verily Allah loves those who fight in His Path in rows as if they 
are a single solid structure. [61:4] 

I am now going to attack them. You also attack, but none should overtake his 

Huthafah bin Sa'id narrates: 

When the Romans faced us for combat, the farmers and slaves who were with the 
cattle, fled. The battle ensued for some time. Thul Kala' al-Himyari 4b addressed his 


Part 1: Damascus 

tribe, "O people of Himyar, the gates of Heaven are open. Paradise is adorned for 
you. The virgin damsels of Paradise await you." 

A Roman was encouraging his troops. Khalid •&> recognised him to be the 
commander because of his splendid armour and mount. He went towards him and 
shouted threats so loudly that the enemy became frightened. Khalid 4» said, "I am 
avenging Sa'id" and thrust his spear so hard that the Roman collapsed like an iron 
wall. There was no soldier of Khalid 4b who did not kill a Roman horseman. 

We killed 320 horsemen while the rest fled in defeat, leaving behind money, 
equipment, mules, Turkish horses and supplies, which we seized in accordance with 
Allah's command. Khalid 4b fulfilled his promise and released the farmers. Taking 
the booty, he returned to 'Amr bin al-'As 4b who rejoiced at Khalid & and the 
Muslim's safe return with booty. He wrote a report on the battle to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b 
and wrote also to Abu Bakr 4» about the victories and all the intelligence gathered on 
the Romans and sent it with Abu 'Amir ad-Dawsi. 

When Abu 'Amir gave Abu Bakr 4h the letter, he read it out loud. The Muslims were 
overjoyed and shouted, "There is no deity but Allah! Allah is the greatest!" 

Abu Bakr 4* then asked about Abu 'Ubaydah 4b. AM 'Amir replied, "He is still 
encamped at the border and has not entered Syria. He heard that Caesar Heraclius has 
gathered a vast army at Ajnadayn and the Muslims fear defeat." From this Abu 
Bakr 4b understood that Abu 'Ubaydah 4*> was too soft to fight the Romans so he 
consulted the Muslims about replacing him with Khalid bin al-Walid <&. When they 
replied, "This is indeed more appropriate," he wrote the following letter of 
appointment to Khalid 4b: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful 

From : 'Abdullah al- 'Atiq bin AM Quhdfah 

To : Khalid bin al-Walid 

As-Saldmu 'Alaykum 

I praise Allah besides whom there is no other deity and send 
salutations upon His Prophet. I appoint you as commander of 
the Muslim armies and command you to fight the Romans. 



Hasten to search for Allah 's pleasure, slay the enemies and 
include yourself amongst those who fought in the Path of Allah. 

X* , >z - 

O you who believe! Shall I show you such a trade which will 
save you from a painful punishment? [61:10] 

You are in command of Abu 'Ubaydah and his army. 
Was-saldmu Alayka 

11) Khalid 4& crosses the desert 

Abu Bakr «j» gave the letter to Najm bin Mafrah al-Kinani who mounted his camel 
and made for 'Iraq. Khalid bin al-Walid ■* was close to conquering Qadisiyah when 
he received the letter. Upon reading it he said, "To obey Allah and the Khalifah of 
Rasulullah S is necessary." He left that very night taking the 'Ayn at-Tamr road and 
wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah <&> to dismiss him and inform him of his coming to Syria, 

"Abu Bakr has put me in charge of the armies of Islam. Do not move from 
your place until I arrive. Was-saldmu 'Alayka." 

'Amir bin Tufayl ad-Dawsi, a brave Muslim soldier, was sent with this letter to Syria. 

When Khalid 4& reached as-Samawah he said, "O people, water is scarce in this 
desert and should not be drunk too much. What is your advice?" 

Rdfi ' bin 'Umayrah at-Tdi : O commander, it would be well if you act upon my 

Khalid 4fc : May Allah guide you - implement whatever it is. 

So he kept thirty camels thirsty for seven days and then gave them water, tied their 
mouths and mounted the camels and took the horses unladen. When they encamped, 
ten camels were slaughtered and the water that emerged from their slit bellies was 
filled in leather bags. When the water cooled down, it was given to the horses while 
the humans ate the meat. This was done at each encampment until the last camel (of 


Part 1: Damascus 

the thirty) was finished and two stages of the journey were traversed without water. 
The lack of water made Khalid 4s> very restless and fearing their destruction, he said, 
"O Rafi', the army is on the verge of death. Do you know where water can be 
obtained?" Rafi' was looking around and said, "O commander, tell me when we 
reach Qaraqir and Sawa." 

They hastened until most reached Qaraqir and Sawa and some were left behind. 
When Rafi' was told, he became very happy. He removed the edge of his turban from 
above his eyes, took his mount and roamed right and left. Everyone encircled him 
and went with him until he reached an Arak tree and shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" so the 
Muslims too started shouting, "Allahu Akbar!" He said, "Dig here." They started 
digging when all at once a spring gushed forth. The army encamped there and 
thanked Allah. They drank and gave the camels to drink. Then they sent water-filled 
leather bags by camel to those who were left behind. This restored their energy and 
so they were able to join the others. 

They rested there for a while and then hurried on until, when one day's travel was 
left, they found at Arakah a way-station built on the road. There were sheep and 
camels there. The Muslims searched for the shepherd to question him. They found 
him drinking wine while a manacled 'Arab was sitting nearby, whom they realised to 
be 'Amir bin Tufayl &. Khalid 4s was quickly informed. He rushed there on 
horseback and smiled when he saw Ibn Tufayl. He said, "O Ibn Tufayl, how did you 
end up caught like this?" Ibn Tufayl **> replied, "O commander, I came to this way- 
station because I was suffering from thirst and heat. I wanted milk from this man but 
saw him drinking wine. So I rebuked him, 'O enemy of Allah, you drink wine when 
it is forbidden.' 'O commander,' he replied to me, 'This is water not wine. Come 
down to me and smell it so that you can be sure that it is not wine. If it is wine then 
you can punish me how you like.' I dismounted my she-camel to smell what it was 
when suddenly he pulled out a stick from under his armpit and hit me so hard that 
my skull cracked. When I turned, he pounced on me and, tying me with a rope, said, 
'It appears that you are of the men of Muhammad bin 'Abdullah. I am keeping you 
until you can be taken to my chief.' I said, 'Who can your chief from amongst the 
'Arabs be?' He replied, 'Qadh bin Wathilah.' Sir, I have been in this condition for 
three days now. Whenever he drank wine, he seated me in front of him and threw the 
dregs on top of me." 

Khalid 4» became so enraged that he pounded the man's head with his sword-hilt and 
killed him. The Muslims confiscated the sheep and camels, dug up the foundation of 
the way-station and freed Ibn Tufayl 4s>. Khalid & asked him, "Where is my letter?" 
He replied, "Tucked away in a fold of my turban. Nobody knew of it." Khalid * said, 



"Take it immediately to Abu 'Ubaydah and stay alert." So he mounted and went 
towards Syria. Khalid 4> ordered the army to march on. 

Arakah was a dangerous place for travellers from Iraq. There the Romans would 
collect taxes from murderous brigands and used to appoint a governor to reside there. 
When the Muslims arrived, Khalid «#& ordered them to confiscate all wealth in the 
place and the outskirts, and this was done. The inhabitants took refuge in a fort where 
there lived a Roman sage. Amongst other sciences he had studied the prophecies of 
war. When he saw the Muslims he turned pale and said, "I take oath by your religion! 
The time has come." The people asked him, "What time?" 

He replied, "These people have been mentioned in the prophecies. It is written that 
the first flag to come here from 'Iraq will be a victorious flag. The destruction of the 
Romans will be at hand. Examine them carefully - if their flag is black, the leader is 
broadly built, tall, fleshy, broad shouldered, strong in appearance, pox-marked in the 
face and wheat-coloured, then know that he will conquer Syria." They saw that that 
was his exact description so they went to the governor and said, "You know that the 
sage, Samuel, never utters a word without wisdom and we have seen with our very 
own eyes whatever he described to us. We feel that we should make peace with the 
'Arabs in order to protect our wealth, children and households." He replied, "Let me 
think until morning comes." 

So the governor went home passing the whole night pondering over the issue. He was 
a highly intelligent man and so examining all factors, said to himself, "If I oppose the 
citizens it is possible that they seize me and hand me over to the 'Arabs. I know with 
certainty that a small 'Arab force defeated Rubiusin Palestine because terror of the 
'Arabs is so embedded in the hearts of the Romans that it will never leave." 

In the morning he summoned the citizenry and asked, "What do you intend?" They 
replied, "We wish to make peace with the 'Arabs and stay here in our city." He said, 
"I am but one of you and cannot oppose you." A widely travelled and experienced 
man was sent to Khalid 4t> to offer peace. He accepted and spoke to him gently and 
politely in the hope that when the people of Sakhnah, Hawran, Palmyra and al- 
Qaraytayn heard of the peace, they would also accept Islamic rule. He said, "I am 
making peace on the conditions that I shall withdraw my army from here, that 
whoever wishes to join Islam will be welcomed and whoever stays on his religion 
will have to pay Jizyah." 

Khalid 4b levied 2,000 dirhams and 1,000 dinars on them and signed a treaty. Before 
he even left there, the people of Sakhnah came to make peace. When the people of 
Palmyra heard about this, their governor, Karkar, gathered them and said, "I have 


Part 1: Damascus 

been informed that the 'Arabs have peacefully taken over Arakah and Sakhnah. I 
have heard from my own men that the 'Arabs are peaceful, just and good natured 
men who deplore wickedness and corruption. Our fort is quite secure and none can 
penetrate it, but there is fear that our orchards and plantations will be ruined. I 
therefore suggest that we make peace with them. If our people are victorious then we 
will annul the treaty and if the 'Arabs are victorious we will be safe." This pleased 
the citizens and they prepared a feast. 

Khalid •$> arrived and they stood to serve and welcome him. He thanked them and 
levied three Uqiyah (367.4 g) of silver and gold and signed the peace treaty. After 
making peace with Sakhnah and Palmyra, Khalid bought provisions and animal 
fodder and then advanced on Hawran. 

In the meantime, 'Amir bin Tufayl * brought the letter to Abu 'Ubaydah 4&. Upon 
reading it he smiled and said, "All praise belongs to AMh alone. I gladly obey Allah 
and the Khalifah of Rasulullah S. He then informed the Muslims of his dismissal and 
Khalid 's 4&> appointment. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc had sent Shurahbil bin Hasanah <$ to BusrS with 4,000 horsemen. 
Upon arriving there, they pitched their tents. Both the Emperor and ordinary Romans 
respected its governor, Romanus. He was a scholar of the previous religious books 
and was bulky in physique. The Romans would come from the far-off cities of Syria 
to see him and hear his advice and wisdom. At that time 12,000 men were stationed 
at Busra. 'Arabs from Yaman and Hijaz would come there to trade. At a special time 
of the year Romanus would sit in a chair placed for him so that the people could see 
him and benefit from his knowledge, and it was that time of the year when the 
Muslim army came. There were many people and upon the army's arrival, tumult 
erupted. Romanus quickly mounted his horse and called out to the people who 
shouted back. He said, "Be quiet. I am going to the Muslim army to find out what 
they want." He went and called out, "O Arabs, I am Romanus, the governor of Busra 
and I want to meet your leader." Shurahbil & then came. 

Romanus : Who are your people? 

Shurahbil <& : We are the Sahabah of Muhammad S, the Messenger of Allah and the 
Unlettered Prophet who was prophesied in the Torah and Gospel. 

Romanus : What has become of him? 

Shurahbil & '■ Abu Bakr Abdullah al-'Atiq bin Abi Quhafah is his successor. 



Romanus : I take oath by my religion that I know very well that you are on the Truth 
and that you will conquer 'Iraq and Syria. However, you are few while we are many. 
I will do this favour to you of making peace with you. You return to your land and 
we shall not interfere with you. O my 'Arab brother, Abu Bakr is my close friend. If 
he were present here, he would never fight against me. 

Shurahbil <&> : In matters of religion he had no consideration for his own son and 
nephew until they embraced Islam. He has no personal choice in that Allah has 
ordered us to wage Jihad. We will not leave until one of three outcomes has been 
decided upon. Firstly, you should embrace Islam. Failing that, your second option is 
to pay Jizyah. If that is also not acceptable, then we will have to do battle. 

Romanus : I take oath by my religion and faith that if the matter were in my hands, 
then I would never fight you because I know you to be upon the Truth. The Romans 
have gathered. Let me go to them and make them understand and see what they feel. 

Shurahbil 4$ : Very good, but hurry for what we have told you about Islam, Jizyah or 
war still stands. 

Romanus returned to his people and said, "O upholders of Christianity and sons of 
baptism water, the arrival of the 'Arabs heralds the loss of your wealth and the death 
of your leaders and champions. This has been foretold in your scriptures and it is 
imminent. You do not have Rubius's army nor his bravery. A handful of 'Arabs 
destroyed him in Palestine, massacred his champions and the rest fled in defeat. I 
have been informed that a man called Khalid bin al-Walid is invading from 'Iraq. He 
has conquered Arakah, Sakhnah, Palmyra and Hawran and is swiftly heading here. I 
therefore suggest that we render Jizyah to the 'Arabs and place ourselves under their 
protection in order to avert this disaster." 

The Romans were so infuriated at his words that they wanted to kill him, so he 
quickly said, "I was merely testing your loyalty to Christianity. I am with you and 
will go first to confront them." 

The Romans prepared for battle and donned leather armour. Seeing this, Shurahbil 4* 
addressed his troops, "May Allah have mercy on you. Rasulullah S has said that 
Paradise lies beneath the shadow of swords and that the most beloved drop unto 
Allah is a drop of blood shed in Allah's Path and a tear-drop shed out of fear of Allah. 
Fight in all earnest and fire your arrows simultaneously so that they are not wasted." 


Part 1: Damascus 

' i _ i 

jow w/?o believe, fear Allah as He should be feared and do 
not die except as Muslims. [3:102] 

Ruwaym al-'Absi narrates: 

I was with Shurahbil's 4fc army. 12,000 youths attacked us expecting victory. 
Compared to them, we were like a white mark on a black camel. We persevered like 
the man who knows he is about to die. The enemy were convinced of victory. I then 
saw Shurahbil raising his hands to the sky making du'a, "O Ever-living! O 
Maintainer of all! O Creator of the Heavens and Earth! O Possessor of Majesty and 
Nobility! O Allah, you have promised us the conquest of Syria and Persia through 
the tongue of your Prophet. O Allah, help those who believe you to be One against 
those who deny You. O Allah, help us against the Disbelievers." 

By Allah! He had hardly finished his du'a when Allah helped us. The enemy had 
encircled us from all four sides and were expecting imminent victory when 
suddenly a dust-cloud arose from the direction of Hawran. As it neared, horses could 
be distinguished and then a flag. We could see two horsemen, one of whom declared, 
"Shurahbil, receive tidings of Allah's Din being helped. I am the well-known 
horseman, Khalid bin al-Walid." 

The other said, "I am 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr." Then the tribes of Lakhm and 
Jutham arrived followed by the rest of the army. Rafi' bin 'Umayrah at-Tai carried 
the flag, Ra-yarul 'Uqab (Flag of the Eagle). 

The Romans' spirit broke as soon as they heard Khalid's & call. The Muslims 
exchanged salam. When Shurahbil 4& gave Khalid 4* salam he said, "O Shurahbil, 
did you not know that this is a special time when the people of Syria, Hijaz and 'Iraq 
gather here? Roman troops and leaders come here so I cannot understand how it is 
that you have entrapped yourself like this?" 

Shurahbil 4fe : I did what Abu 'Ubaydah ordered me to do. 

Khalid 4fe : He is a simple man who fears Allah. In matters of war, strategy and 
sophistication he is inexperienced. 



He then ordered them to rest and so they encamped and comforted each other. 

The next day the Roman army again came. KMlid <$> said to his men, "The people 
of Busra think, "Their men and horses must be tired from the journey', and advance 
against us. You should place your trust in Allah." 

The Muslims armed themselves and mounted their horses. He then put Rafi' bin 
'Umayrah at-Tai in charge of the right wing, and Dirar bin al-Azwar bin Tariq al- 
Kindi <& over the left wing. Dirar * was a brave young man whose intelligence and 
bravery was famous. The infantry was under 'Abdurahman bin Humayd al-Lakhmi. 
KMlid * split the advance-force under Musayyab bin 'Utbah and Math'ur bin 
Ghanim and said, "When I give the order, jump immediately onto your horses and 

KMlid and 'Abdurahman 4> were advising the army and intended to attack when 
suddenly a strong massive horseman (Romanus), on whom gold, silver, silk and 
rubies glittered, emerged from the Roman ranks. He stopped in between the two 
armies and called out in 'Arabic in a bedouin accent. 

Romanus : I am the governor of Busra. None but your leader should come to combat 

Khalid <& came forward. 

Romanus : Are you the leader? 

Khalid ^ : Yes, the Muslims will obey me for as long as I obey Allah. If I should 
disobey Him, then my position is lost. 

Romanus : I am of the Roman royal class and one of their sages. Truth can never be 
hidden from an intelligent man with foresight. I have read in the Scriptures and war 
prophecies that God will send a prophet from the Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe 
whose name will be Muhammad. 

Khalid 4t> : He is our Prophet. 

Romanus : Was any book revealed to him? 

Khalid & : Yes, the Quran. 

Romanus : Has alcohol been forbidden? 


Part 1: Damascus 

Khdlid 4» : We punish whoever drinks alcohol, lash a fornicator and stone an 

Romanus : Has Salah been made compulsory upon you? 

Khdlid 4t : Yes, five times a day 

Romanus : Has Jihad been made compulsory? 

Khdlid 4» : If Jihad was not made compulsory, then why else should we have come 
to fight you? 

Romanus : I know that you people are on the Truth and I have great love for you. I 
have warned my people so that they can be safe, but they refuse to listen. I greatly 
fear for them. 

Khdlid <& : You should recite, "I testify that there is no deity besides Allah alone. He 
has no partner. And I testify that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger." If you 
recite this then we and you share all benefits and loss. 

Romanus : I will certainly become a Muslim but I fear that my people will kill me 
and enslave my women. However, I shall go to them and warn them. Perhaps Allah 
will guide them. 

Khdlid 4& : I fear that if you return without fighting me, they may harm you. Let us 
pretend to fight each other so that they do not accuse you and then you can return. 

So they pretended to fight until Romanus said, "Attack forcefully so that I can flee 
the battlefield. Caesar has sent Darian to help and reinforce me. I fear that he will 
harm you." 

Khdlid 4b '■ Allah will help me against him. 

He then violently attacked Romanus who fled to his people and Khalid 4& did not 
chase him. The Romans questioned Romanus as to what had occured and so he said, 
"O People, the 'Arabs are energetic and clever. You cannot win against them. They 
will conquer Syria and the whole Roman Empire. Fear God and obey the 'Arabs. 
Enter into their protection just as Arakah, Palmyra and Hawnin have done. I only 
desire good for you." 

They responded with threats and abuse and would have killed him had it not been for 
fear of Caesar's retaliation. They said, "Go home. We will deal with the 'Arabs." 



Romanus was happy because this was what he wanted. He went home saying to 
himself, "Perhaps Allah will grant Khalid victory then I and my family can go with 

The Romans then elected Darian and said to him, "When we have finished off the 
Muslims, we will take you to Heraclius to petition Romanus 's dismissal and your 
appointment because you are more brave and intelligent than him." He said, "What 
do you wish from me?" They answered, "We want you to attack the Muslims and kill 
their leader. The rest of the army will then flee." 

12) Busra conquered 

Darian donned his armour and weapons and went to the battlefield challenging 
Khalid 4b to fight him. ' Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr •& said to Khalid &, "You are the 
commander and the army remains for as long as the commander remains. I will 
therefore fight him." So the duel began with both armies watching. After a short 
while Darian realised that he could not win, so he fled and managed to escape to the 
Roman army because of his faster horse. When questioned, Darian said, "He attacked 
me most violently and I could not maintain my position. However, you should all 
now attack together." These words made them lose heart. Khalid 4b immediately 
sensed this so he, 'Abdurahman bin AM Bakr, Dirar bin al-Azwar, Qays bin 
Hubayrah, Shurahbil bin Hasanah, Rafi' bin 'Umayrah, Musayyib bin Najiyah al- 
Fazari, 'Abdurahman bin Humayd al-Lakhmi, led the Muslims in an attack. The 
Romans now had no choice but to remain steadfast and so advanced against the 
Muslims, but Roman heads and blood soon littered the ground. At the city wall, 
conches were sounded. The Priests raised a tumult and, looking at the sky, began 
praying their prayers of disbelief. 

Shurahbil & responded with this du'a, "O Allah, these impure people invoke Your 
curse with words of disbelief and call unto a deity besides You. There is no deity but 
You. We invoke Your curse with the words of "There is no deity but You' and with 
the intercession of Muhammad - salutations and peace be upon him and his family - 
against Your Disbelieving enemies." 

As he was reciting the du'a the Muslims were saying, "Amin, Amin" and then 
attacked all at once. The enemy, fearing the fall of the fort, fled covering the earth 
with their corpses. They were so confused that when they reached the city gates, they 
began killing each other in the ensuing mayhem. They entered the fort taking refuge 
behind its walls and towers. They raised flags and crosses and sent a message to 
Heraclius requesting him to send reinforcements. 


Part I: Damascus 

'Abdullah bin Rafi' narrates: 

When they went behind the city walls, we stopped chasing them to assess the army's 
condition. Finding men to be missing, we found their bodies lying in the battlefield. 
320 men, mostly from Bujaylah and Hamdan were martyred. Amongst the chiefs 
Badr bin Hamlah (ally of Thafiq), 'Ali bin Rifa'ah, Mazin bin 'Awf, Sahl bin Nashit, 
Jabir bin Murarah, Rabi' bin Hamid and 'Abbad bin Bishr were martyred. Booty was 
gathered. Khalid * led the Salatul Janazah and ordered the martyrs to be buried. 

One night later 'Abdurahman and Ma'mar bin Rashid and 100 youths were patrolling 
the camp when suddenly the horses raised their forelegs and neighed. The Muslims 
became alert and began investigating until they spotted a cloaked figure. When 
'Abdurahman 4% wanted to seize him, he shouted, "Wait! I am the governor of Busra. 
So he arrested him and took him to Khalid 4% who recognised him and laughed. 

Romanus : O Commander, my people have reviled me and ordered me to remain at 
home or else they will kill me. I stayed at home, but because my house is joined to 
the city wall, I managed to escape under cover of darkness and come to you. I wish 
that you send some youths with me to capture the city. 

Khalid 4* prostrated out of thanks and ordered 'Abdurahman 4% to take 100 men and 
go with Romanus. 

Dirar bin al-Azwar 4fe narrates: 

I was amongst those who entered the city with Romanus. When we reached his 
house, he opened the storeroom, distributed weapons and said, "Wear Roman 
clothes." We dressed in Roman garb and split into four groups of twenty-five 
horsemen each in every direction of the city. 'Abdurahman 4* said, "When you hear 
us saying, 'Allahu Akbar' then you too call out 'Allahu Akbar' immediately." 

We arrived in our appointed place and awaited the attack. 

Reliable narrators state that after 'Abdurahman 4*> appointed their places and he and 
Romanus donned their armour, Romanus offered him a sword which he accepted. 
Romanus then took him by the hand to the tower where Darian and his companions 
stayed. When they approached, the courtiers and guards bunched together. Darian 
asked, "Who are you people?" 

Romanus : I am Lord Romanus. 

Darian : Why have your unlucky feet come here and who is that person with you? 



Romanus : This is my friend who wishes to meet you. 

Darian : You wretch! Who is he? 

Romanus : This is 'Abdurahman, the son of the Khalifah of Rasulullah S, who has 
come to despatch your soul to the dungeons of Hell! 

Darian wanted to attack but instantly lost heart so 'Abdurahman * unsheathed his 
sword and struck him violently on the shoulder so that he fell. He then led Romanus 
in proclaiming, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!" 

The Muslims heard the raised cries of "Allahu Akbar!" in the four corners of Busra; 
the sound which the stones, mountains, trees, birds and Allah-fearing people made 
into their melody. All pious people began expressing thanks. 

When the Mujahidin started proclaiming, "Allahu Akbar!" their swords began 
drinking Roman blood. Khalid & and his men responded by entering the city with 
shouts. When the Romans saw their city being invaded they shouted out sounds of 
grief. Women and children cried while youths shouted something in their language. 
Khalid 4fr asked Romanus to translate. He said that they were begging for safety, so 
Khalid 4&> ordered all swords to be immediately sheathed and they obeyed. 

In the morning, the people all gathered around Khalid 4b and said, "If only we had 
made peace then this would not have befallen us." 

Khalid 4& : Whatever the Eternal Distributor distributes must be received and what 
Fate is written must come to pass. 

Romans : Who guided you in invading our city? 

Khalid 4b felt embarrassed to mention Romanus, so Romanus himself got up and 
said, "O enemies of Allah and His Messenger, I am the person who performed that 
deed for Allah's pleasure as Jihad in His Path." 

Romans : Have you left our religion? 

Romanus : By Allah! I deny the Cross and those who worship it. Do not associate me 
with it. I am pleased to accept Allah as my Rabb, Islam as my Din, Muhammad S as 
Prophet and Messenger, the Ka'bah as my direction of prayer, the Quran as Guide 
and the Muslims as brothers. 

The Christians were furious and tried to discredit him. He sensed this and so said to 
Khalid 4&, "I do not intend staying here, but will go with you until Allah grants you 


Part 1: Damascus 

the conquest of all Syria. Then I will return, for everyone is naturally inclined to his 

Ma'mar bin Salim narrates from his grandfather, Lujayjah bin Mafrah: 

Romanus was with us in every battle. He fought severely against our enemies and 
was earnest in the Path of Allah until Allah granted the conquest of all Syria. Then 
on Abu 'Ubaydah's & request, the Khalifah 'Umar 4b appointed him as governor of 
Busra. He governed for a short while and then went to his Eternal Abode leaving 
behind a son who kept his memory fresh. 

13) Story of Romanus's wife 

After the conquest, Khalid 4b appointed some men to help gather Romanus's 
belongings. Upon reaching his home, they found him arguing with his wife who was 
demanding a divorce. He said, "What do you want?" She replied, "The leader of your 
army will make the decision." So they took her to Khalid & to whom she started 
complaining. A Roman who knew 'Arabic translated for them and said that she was 
laying a complaint against Romanus. When Khalid 4» asked the cause, she replied, 
"I dreamt last night that an extremely handsome man whose face shone like the full 
moon came and said, 'The 'Arabs will conquer this and all of Syria and 'Iraq.' I said, 
'Who are you?' He replied, 'Muhammad Rasulullah.' He then offered me Islam 
which I accepted and then taught me two chapters of the Quran." 

Everyone was amazed and Khalid 4* told the translator that she must recite those 
chapters. So she recited Surahs al-Fatihah and al-Ikhlas and renewed her declaration 
of Islam to Khalid 4b. She said to Romanus, "Become Muslim or divorce me." 

Khalid 4b laughed and said, "Pure is He Who guided her." 

Then he said to the translator, "Tell her that her husband embraced Islam before her." 

This gladdened her. 

Khalid 4b then imposed an amount of tax on the people of Busra that was agreeable 
to them and after consulting them, appointed a governor of their choice to whom they 
could refer all their needs. He then wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b to inform him of the 
victory and stated, "I am marching to Damascus. Meet me there." 

He then wrote to Abu Bakr 4b: 



As you commanded, I left for Syria where Allah granted me 
victory over Palmyra, Arakah, Hawran, Sakhnah and Busra. At 
the time of writing this report, I intend marching on Damascus, 
and hope for Allah 's assistance. Convey my saldm to all the 
Muslims. Was-saldmu 'alayka wa rahmatulldhi wa barakdtuhu. 

14) Romans reinforce Damascus 

KMlid <&> sent the two letters and marched on Damascus. When a pass was reached, 
he encamped and unfurled the Flag of the Eagle and as a result it is now called 
Thaniyatul 'Uqab (Pass of the Eagle). He then marched to Ghawtah where he 
encamped near a monastery and to this day that place is called Dayr KMlid (Khalid's 
Monastery). There he awaited Abu 'Ubaydah &. Damascus was filled with people 
from the surrounding area whose number could not be counted; 12,000 alone were 
mounted. The city walls were decorated with flags, crosses and spears. 

When Heraclius received intelligence of Khalid's 4e> capture of Arakah, Palmyra, 
Hawran, Sakhnah and Busra and his march on Damascus, he gathered his officials 
and said, "I warned you from the very beginning, none of you listened. The 'Arabs 
have captured Arakah, Palmyra, Hawran, Sakhnah and Busra and are now heading 
towards Damascus. If it is lost, it will be an absolute disaster because it is the only 
city worthy of being called 'Paradise of Syria'. An army, double the size of the 'Arab 
army, will be sent to Damascus but I have to ask who amongst you will face them 
and defeat them? Whatever territory he liberates from 'Arab occupation will be under 
him and exempt from land-tax." Lord Calius, son of Hanah, a famous and brave 
champion from Syria who exhibited his bravery during the Persian invasion of Syria, 
said, "I am enough to take them on. I will defeat them and drive them out." 

Heraclius gave him a golden cross saying, "Keep this in front of you to gain 
victory," and gave him 5,000 men. 

Calius took the cross and departed the same day from Antioch. Upon reaching Hims, 
he found it to be filled with men and arms. The people came out to welcome him. 
The priests and monks were in front burning incense of ambergis and aloe wood. 
They carried Bibles on their chests and when they approached, the army recited 
'Mass' on them, sprinkled holy water on the general and prayed for his success. They 
stayed there for a day and night and then advanced towards Jawsiyah whose 
inhabitants similarly came out to welcome them. Then they reached Ba'labakk. The 
women were striking their faces in mourning. Calius asked about the cause, to which 


Part 1: Damascus 

they replied, "The 'Arabs have conquered Arakah, Palmyra, Hawran, and Busra and 
they are now heading for Damascus." 

Calius replied, "I have received information that the 'Arabs are now at al-Jabiyah. It 
amazes me how they have managed to conquer these cities and forts." 

Ba'labakkis : Yes, there is an 'Arab force stationed at al-Jabiyah. However, these 
places were conquered by a different army coming from 'Iraq under a man called 
Khalid bin al-Walid. 

Calius : How big is his army? 

Ba'labakkis : 1500 men. 

Calius : I take oath by my religion that I will cut off his head and hang it on my spear. 

He then left for Damascus. 

The governor of Damascus, Uriel, was greatly revered by the Romans and had 3,000 
cavalry and infantry under him. When Calius reached Damascus, the city elders came 
out to welcome him. He read out his letter of appointment to fight the Muslims and 
said, "I will fight with you against them and drive your enemies from your city on 
condition that Uriel is evicted from the city so that I remain in sole command." They 
replied, "Our Lord, how can we do that when the enemy is almost here? Instead of 
evicting a leader at such a crucial time, we would rather welcome ten leaders who 
could help us against them." 

The governor said, "When the 'Arabs arrive, we can take turns of one day each to 
fight them. Whoever defeats them will administer the city." 

The elders approved of this suggestion and so the decision was made. The two 
leaders then went to their separate quarters carrying hatred and enmity for each other 
in their hearts. 

The Romans would leave daily from al-Jabiyah Gate for a distance of one Farsakh 
(5.5km) in anticipation of Abu 'Ubaydah's & army. Instead, Khalid 4& was first 
encountered in the direction of the Thaniyah Gate. 

Rifa'ah bin Muslim narrates from his grandfather: 

I was in the army of Khalid bin al-Walid 4& encamped near the monastery when 
suddenly Romans were seen coming like a swarm of locusts. He donned 



Musaylamah the Liar's armour, tied his turban around his waist while letting one side 
hang and called out, "O people, may Allah have mercy on you for this is a day which 
will never be repeated. The enemy cavalry and infantry have arrived, do not spare a 
single one of them. Do Allah's work and He will help you if you are patient. Include 
yourselves amongst those whose lives Allah has bought. He says: 

pi'^lj JL$-*dL»l ^j_j£»£}\ ^j> c£jLil -Oil OJ 
4JJI J-rt-wu (j ^j_jjlyjLi 4jj>J I J»^J ^J^jL; 

Allah has bought the lives and property of the Believers in 
exchange for Paradise - they fight in the path of Allah... 


Remember that the army of your brother, Abu 'Ubaydah, is soon to join you." 

The Muslims mounted their horses and so the Romans, who had intended to attack 
now hesitated. Khalid & organised the army as follows: Rafi' bin 'Umayrah over the 
right-wing; Musayyib bin Najiyah al-Fazari over the left-wing; Shurahbil over the 
front's right; 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr over the front's left; Salim bin Nawfal & 
over the rear-guard while he took charge of the centre. After appointing the generals, 
he said to Dirar bin al-Azwar &, "Wage Jihad in the manner of your father and tribe. 
Help Allah's Din and He will help you. You will present yourself first for combat. 
Fight them with such bravery that their hearts become filled with terror and they 

Dirar * wore dirty clothes and an old turban and mounted on a thin fast filly. He 
attacked so furiously that the enemy ranks were thrown into tumult. He slew their 
four top horsemen and then, turning to the infantry, killed six. Had the Romans not 
showered him with arrows and stones, he would not have returned. Khalid * and the 
Muslims thanked him. 

'Abdurahman 4&> then donned his armour and advanced for a test of strength. Khalid 
4h said, "O Ibn Abi Bakr, terrify the enemy with your attack. Stop only when you 
have torn their ranks apart. Allah will bless your strength." 

So he attacked in the manner of Dirar 4& and slew enemies before returning. Khalid 
4fe then attacked, displaying such exploits with his spear which utterly astonished the 


Part 1: Damascus 

Romans. Calius realised from his manner that he was the commander of the Islamic 
army. He saw that Khalid * had seen all his signs of leadership and the cross above 
his head and was therefore heading his way, so he backed away. Khalid * 
attempted to reach him, but some Romans came to block him. They threatened him 
and fired arrows, but he was relentless in his advance. He rode his horse which was 
like lightning flashing in all directions. He continued like this until he killed ten 
Romans and then shouted, "Is there any challenger?" but none responded. 

He shouted, "Then come in pairs against me!" but none came. He then challenged 
four and increased his challenge right up to ten, but none even answered him, so he 
said, "Be destroyed! I am but one man alone on a horse. Every soldier in my army is 
a warrior equal to me." 

15) The Roman generals argue 

Some people understood the challenge, while others did not. Uriel went to Calius and 
said, "Caesar has appointed you commander of the army to fight the 'Arabs. The 
protection of the citizens and the city is your responsibility." 

Calius : Your responsibilty is more than mine because you were the governor before 
me. Do not delude yourself into thinking that I cannot withdraw without Caesar's 
order. Why do you not go and fight the 'Arabs? 

Uriel : We have an agreement that one day you will fight and one day I will fight. 
Today you go. 

Calius : I have already said that you came to this city before me so you go first. I will 
fight tomorrow. 

The argument became personal and protracted so the people wished to draw lots to 
decide which of the two should go out to fight the 'Arabs, but then Calius said, "No, 
it is better that we make a united attack so that they stay in awe of us.. We should not 
be divided." Uriel responded, "I do not care, do as you please." Calius then thought 
that if Heraclius found out about these things, he could be expelled from the court 
and even executed. So he changed his mind and insisted on a lottery. His name was 
drawn, so Uriel said, "Display such bravery on the battlefield which the 'Arab 
leaders displayed. When it is my turn, they will see which of us is braver." 

Calius donned his armour, mounted his horse and said to his men, "Focus all your 
attention and strength on me. If I am overpowered then come immediately to my aid 
and save me." 



They replied, "Cowardice drips from your words. Perhaps you will come back 

Callus : I am confronting a bedouin who speaks a different language. I wish to speak 
to him because precaution is a strong armour. Who amongst you can translate for me? 

An intelligent Christian named Sergius, who was highly eloquent, volunteered and 
went with him. 

16) Sergius's speech to Khalid 

Along the way Calius said, "The 'Arabs have a very bold leader. If I am overcome 
in battle you will have to help me. In exchange, I will make you my companion and 
minister, but do not reveal this secret - 1 shall delay the battle for so long that through 
some scheme I will return without fighting. Then when Uriel fights tomorrow he will 
be killed and then I will be relieved of him." 

Sergius : I know nothing of warfare but can help you with my eloquence. I shall 
speak for as long as is possible and will not be deficient. Is that acceptable? 

Callus : Alas, you wish me to fall into enemy hands! 

Sergius : And you wish to sacrifice me to save yourself. Be fair, if I am killed then 
what use are your rewards, honours and gifts to me? 

Calius kept quiet and went forward until he neared Khalid &. Rati' bin 'Umayrah 
wanted to attack him, but Khalid 4& stopped him, saying, "Stay in your place. I, the 
servant of Islam, am here." 

Calius said to Sergius, "Ask who they are and what they want. Threaten them with 
our power and large army. Find out their intentions." 

Sergius : O 'Arab, I wish to describe a parable to you. The comparison between you 
and us is like that of someone who owned a flock of sheep and appointed a cowardly, 
weak shepherd to watch over them. A lion broke into the pen, anobecause of the 
shepherd's cowardice, would come daily and take a sheep. When the sheep were 
almost finished and the lion had become accustomed to sheep's blood, the owner 
learnt about the shepherd's laziness and cowardice and so replaced him with a brave 
youth who would patrol the pen all night long. As per his habit, the lion returned but 
the shepherd, who was waiting in ambush, killed him with his spear. Thereafter, no 
beast dared attack the sheep. This is also your condition. We have been lax towards 


Part 1: Damascus 

you because you are an extremely weak, naked, hungry, labouring people. You have 
subsisted on stolen food, barley, olive-oil and by sucking dried date-pits. You have 
eaten our food since you entered our territory and have become that lion. You have 
come as far as you can and done whatever you could. Now Caesar has sent such a 
person against you who cannot be compared to any human and who is not concerned 
as to who crosses swords with him. He is none other than he who is with me. So 
beware lest you end up like the lion killed by the young shepherd. It is merely out of 
his compassion and pity for you that he has ordered me to speak to you. Therefore I 
am asking you what you want here. You are swimming in a sea whose waves will hit 
you until you drown and whose waters will choke you if you drink it. If you are in 
charge of this army then from your heart consider peace to be in your best interest 
before the lion comes charging from the jungle. 

17) Khalid & and Calius duel 

Khalid 4& replied, "O enemy of Allah, you dare make an example of us? By Allah! 
You should realise that we consider you just as a hunter considers sparrows trapped 
in a net, fluttering in all directions to escape. The hunter is neither scared of their 
numbers nor does he let any escape. What you said of our city and famine is true, but 
Allah has now given us better. Instead of some grains, He has given us wheat, fruit, 
refined butter and honey. This land is ours. Our Rabb gave it to us and promised it to 
us through the tongue of His Messenger S. As to your question about what we want, 
it is one of three things - either accept Islam, pay Jizyah, or fight until Allah decides 
the outcome. You praise this wretched Calius but we take him as the lowest of the 
low. If he is a pillar of your empire then I am Khalid bin al-Walid, servant of Islam 
and conquerer of Palmyra, Arakah, Hawran, Sakhnah and Busra." 

Sergius's face changed at hearing this eloquence and went back to Calius who said, 
"How sad that you attacked like a lion, then came back afraid." 

Sergius replied, "I take oath by my religion that I mistook him for a vagabond but 
now find him to be a fighting ram, a killing horseman. This is the leader of a nation 
who has fdled the Earth with evil, so advance and attack him." Calius had been 
quaking in his saddle like a leaf blowing in the wind since he heard Khalid's 4& name. 
He said, "Tell him to postpone the battle until tomorrow." 

Sergius replied, "I shall tell him, but I am not sure if he will accept," and turned to 
Khalid 4& and said, "O commander of his people, my companion told me to tell you 
that you should return to your army and consult them." 



Khalid^ : O fool, you tell me this when I am the very spirit of war. To escape me is 
very difficult. 

Then he aimed his spear at Sergius who fled. So he shouted at Calius and attacked 
him, but Calius moved back until he neared his camp. Khalid & caught up with him 
so he was forced to defend himself. The soldiers also began battling, their spears 
flashing brighter than flames. Calius again tried to flee during the heat of the battle, 
but realising his intentions, Khalid ^ spurred his horse until they met bridle to 
bridle. He disabled his spear and then twirling a small spear smashed it above 
Calius's throat shouting, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good 
except with Allah's help the Most High, the Most Mighty!" 

Then Khalid & grabbed him and pulled him out of his saddle. The Muslims began 
shouting, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!", while the hearts of the Christians quivered. 
The Muslims ran to Khalid &, who handed his prisoner over to them saying, "Tie his 
hands behind his back." 

Calius began raving, so they asked Romanus, "What is he wittering?" 

Romanus : He says, "Why do you tie me up when I am prepared to accept what your 
commander has said. Do you not want Jizyah? I will fulfil all your wishes." 

When Khalid ^.was informed, he said, "Keep him firmly tied because he is their 
leader." Then he dismounted and mounted his horse, Shahri, intending to attack the 
Romans. The governor of Palmyra had given Shahri to him. Dirar bin al-Awzar & 
protested, "You are tired from fighting the Roman general. Rest and permit me to go 
and fight." 

Khalid •& replied, "Rest is in the Hereafter. One will be able to relax on the Day of 
Judgement according to the effort done today," and left for the battlefield. 

Calius shouted, "I beg you in the name of your prophet to come here. I want to tell 
you something." 

The Muslims shouted out, so Khalid & returned and asked Romanus to question him. 
After speaking to him, he said, "He says, T am a courtier of Heraclius who sent me 
here with 5,000 cavalry. When I arrived here, Uriel, the governor of Damascus, 
argued with me. If he comes to you in battle, you should not let him live. If he does 
not come, challenge him to come and kill him, for he is the leader. If you kill him 
Damascus is yours. Will you do this?' " 


Part 1: Damascus 

Khalid^e : Romanus, tell him that I am killing whoever ascribes a partner unto Allah 
and attributes a son unto Him. 

Then he left for the battlefield reciting this war-poem: 

r^b ^-J*** i»yJ» J*M J^j <*jji xs u ^s^ji <jj ^ 

f-^^'j V-H^ 1 •**** (^r* J-»vt p < : » : : t-^r— «/-iJ p i < A > 

my Master! For every blessing I praise You, 

O Bountiful One! For all you give I thank You. 

After disbelief and darkness You have favoured us, 

Taken us out of Doubts and Wrong 's darkness. 

Through Muhammad You saved us and removed what is 


And made us assisted, guided and honourable. 

You have named us the best of all nations, 

So fulfil our intentions. 

Let the Disbelievers taste 

Their punishment with all haste! 

When Sergius reached the Romans after fleeing from Khalid 4fc, he was quivering, so 
they asked him, "What is chasing you that has terrified you so much? 

Sergius : Death! Such a death which cannot be overcome. A lion which cannot be 
fought - the Muslim leader who went into battle taking his Lord's name. Wherever 
we went, he was never lax in killing us. It was only with great effort that I managed 
to escape. It is better that we make peace before he comes with his whole army to 

Romans : O wretch! You come running away from your defeat and now want to 
terrify us. 



They would have killed him but when they saw Calius arrested, they turned to Uriel 
and said, "Caesar's courtier is arrested through no fault of his own. You had an 
agreement amongst yourselves that he would fight one day and you the next, so now 
you will have to fight and kill that bedouin." 

Uriel : Bear in mind that if he is killed another 'Arab will replace him, but if I am 
killed, you will be a flock of sheep without a shepherd. So it is better that we all go 
to attack. 

Romans : We will never do that until the Day of Judgement, for thousands of lives 
would be sacrificed and thousands of women would become widows. 

Friend of Calius : Your rank with Caesar is not equal to Calius's. The two of you had 
an agreement in which he fulfilled his side. Now that he is captured, you will have 
to go or else we will fight you. 

Uriel : It is a pity that you think that I have not gone out of fright of a bedouin. I am 
going now and both armies will see who is the better warrior. 

18) Khalid & and Uriel duel 

Uriel prepared his weapons, donned his armour, mounted a fast horse and set out to 
meet Khalid <&. 

Uriel : O my 'Arab brother, come nearer so that I can tell you something. 

Khalid 4b (angry) : O enemy of Allah, you come so that I can break your head. 

Uriel : 'Arab brother, I am coming. 

So he came closer to Khalid 4s, who sensed his fear and did not attack him. 

Uriel : You have a whole army, but still such a being like yourself comes for 
combat? If you are overcome, then they will be like sheep without a shepherd. 

Khalid 4* '■ O enemy of Allah, did you not see how two of my soldiers attacked your 
army? Had I not prevented them, then with Allah's help, they could have wiped your 
army off the face of the Earth. Every one of my soldiers considers death to be a 
blessing and life worthless... but who are you? 

Uriel : What! You have never heard of me? I am the horseman of all horsemen, the 
defeater of the Turkish army and the Juramiqah. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Khdlid 4s> : And your name is? 

Uriel : The same as the angel of death, Uriel. 

Khdlid 4b (laughing) : O enemy of Allah, your namesake is in search of you to send 
you to Hell and is therefore remembering you! 

Uriel : I ask you in the name of your religion, what did you do with Calius? 

Khdlid 4b : He is sitting there with his hands tied behind his back. 

Uriel : He brings nothing but disaster. What has stopped you from killing him? 

Khdlid 4b : Because I want to kill you two together. 

Uriel : Will you accept 1,000 Mithqal (4.4 kg) gold, ten sets of silk clothing and five 
horses in exchange for giving me his head? 

Khdlid 4» : That is the price of his blood. What is the price of your life? 

Uriel (furious) : What will you take? 

Khdlid 4b : Your disgraced head as Jizyah! 

Uriel : 'Arab brother, the more we respect you, the more you disgrace us and 
increase in sarcasm. Prepare for attack. 

Khalid *fe blazed like a flame and attacked Uriel who fought back. The two engaged 
each other for a considerable time. Uriel was such a warrior that his exploits were 
recited by every Syrian child. He said, "I take oath by my religion! If I wish to, I can 
capture you, but out of mercy I will make peace with you and your army. It is better 
that you voluntarily hand yourself over to me so that everyone sees you captured." 

Khdlid 4b : O enemy of Allah, you entertain such hopes when this is the group which 
conquered Palmyra, Hawran, Sakhnah and Busra, who sold their lives to Allah in 
exchange for Paradise, who have chosen the Permanent Abode above the temporary 
abode and who have preferred the Hereafter over the world. Now you will find out 
which of the two of us will conquer his enemy and his enemy's territories and enforce 
his law therein. 

He then increased the intensity of his combat and employed such tactics that 
confounded the enemy and, instead of speaking of capture, now began sweating and 
so said in a flattering tone, '"Arab brother, why do you joke like this?" 



Khalid 4b : My joke is the sword's strike, so that through it my Rabb becomes pleased 
with me. Be alert. I am attacking again. 

He struck out, but not with a firm hand, so the enemy was saved. Yet the violence of 
the attack so frightened him that he fled, pursued by Khalid 4b. 

'Amir narrates: 

I was at the centre of the army watching the two adversaries when Uriel fled and 
could not be caught because of his faster horse. He turned around to see Khalid <* 
left behind and so (perhaps) thought, "The bedouin fears me. I will wait here to 
capture him. Jesus will help me," and so he paused there. When Khalid 4& came 
close, his horse was perspiring profusely and was clearly tired. 

Uriel : O 'Arab, do not think that I went away out of fear for you. Rather, I have 
taken you away from your men so as to catch you. 

Khalid 4b '■ Allah, the Knower of the Unseen, knows best. 

Uriel : 'Arab brother, it is still not too late for you to have mercy on yourself. Stop 
fighting and taking unnecessary risks. Surrender! However, if you really wish for 
death, then I am Uriel, snatcher of souls, angel of death. 

Khalid 4& '■ O enemy of Allah, because of my slow horse you suddenly find courage? 
If my horse is tired, I will come on foot and kill you if you do not flee. 

Then he jumped off his horse like a tiger, swinging his sword. Uriel became 
emboldened to see him on foot and circled him like a vulture intending to kill him. 
But Khalid 4b hacked at a foreleg of the horse, bringing it down to the ground. Uriel 
ran to his camp with Khalid 4b in pursuit shouting, "O enemy of Allah, your 
namesake is becoming angry with you and wants to extract your soul. Be prepared." 

He grabbed him with one hand but then the Romans launched an attack to free their 
governor. Suddenly, a Muslim army arrived on the scene under the leadership of Abu 
'Ubaydah 4b. Khalid 4b had earlier sent a messenger to him from Busra who had met 
him along the way and was still accompanying him when they came across Khalid *fc 
apprehending the governor. When the people of Damascus saw the army, they 
became frightened and called off the assault, so Khalid 4» arrested Uriel. 


Part 1: Damascus 

19) Battle of the Monastery 

Abu 'Ubaydah * intended dismounting, but Khalid *fc forbade him under oath 
because of the great love Rasulullah S bore for him. They met and exchanged salam. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe : My son, I was overjoyed to receive the Khalifah's order 
concerning you. Not a shadow of a grudge passed my heart because I know what you 
have achieved in Persia and 'Arabia. 

Khalid & : I will do nothing without consulting you and will not blink an eyelid 
against you. By Allah, were it not in obedience to the Khalifah, I would never accept 
this post in consideration of your precedence in Islam and your being a special 
Sahabi of Rasulullah S. 

The two shook hands and Khalid's 4fc horse was presented to him, which he 
mounted. As they were riding together to the camp at the monastery, he was telling 
Abu 'Ubaydah .&> about the capture of the two generals and Allah's help. When they 
arrived, the Muslims exchanged salam. 

The next day both camps prepared for battle, with the Romans coming out under the 
command of Heraclius's son-in-law, Thomas, a great general. Khalid <& said, "They 
truly fear the Muslims. Yesterday they were thoroughly humiliated and the capture 
of their two generals weakened them. So now we should mount a joint attack on 

Abu 'Ubaydah * : Very well, I am with you. 

The Muslims altogether raised loudly the cry, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu 
Akbar!" until the cries reached the surrounds of Ghawtah. With this cry on their lips, 
the Sahabah & of Rasulullah S attacked, and the teeth of the Christians rattled. The 
Christians were humiliated while Allah's friends, intoxicated with Jihad considered 
their heads a small price to pay for their Friend's pleasure. 

'Amir bin at-Tufayl 4fc narrates: 

In that battle, each of us killed about ten Romans. The battle had hardly lasted an 
hour when they were dislodged. We chased them all the way from the Monastery to 
the Eastern Gate. When the Damascenes saw their cowardice, they shut the gates so 
as to prevent the cowards from entering. 



Qays bin Hubayrah narrates: 

When we reached the gate, we killed some and captured others and then returned 
There Khalid & said to Abu 'Ubaydah &, "I think that I should lay siege to the 
Eastern Gate and you lay siege to al-Jabiyah Gate." He replied, "That is truly a good 

20) The siege of Damascus 

The troops of al-Hijaz, Yaman, Hadramawt, Coastal 'Uman, at-Taif and the 
surrounds of Makkah totalled 37,000 under Abu 'Ubaydah &>. 'Amr bin al-'As 
commanded 9,000 cavalry in Palestine, while Khalid & brought 1 ,500 youths from 
the 'Iraq front. So the total Muslim strength in Syria was, at that time, 47,500 
excluding the number 'Umar 4&> would later send during his rule and which will be 
mentioned later. Khalid 4b took half the army and laid siege to the Eastern Gate while 
Abu 'Ubaydah «#& took the other half to lay siege to the al-Jabiyah Gate. This 
terrified the Damascenes greatly. Khalid 4» summoned Calius and Uriel and offered 
them Islam. Upon their refusal, he ordered Dirar <& to execute them which was done. 
Reliable narraters report that Dirar bin al-Azwar 4» killed Uriel while Rafi' bin 
'Umayrah dealt with Calius. 

When the Damascenes found out, they wrote to Heraclius to inform him of the defeat 
and executions and added, "The 'Arabs are laying siege to the Eastern and al-Jabiyah 
Gates and have with them their women and children. Most of the prosperous 
territories have fallen into their hands. Rescue us or we will be forced to surrender to 

At night a rope was tied from the city walls and a messenger lowered with the letter. 

Heraclius was at Antioch when he received the letter. After reading it, he wept and 
flung it down. He called his officials and said, "O Romans, I warned you from the 
beginning about these brave 'Arabs. From the beginning, I told you that someday 
they would own my crown and throne, but alas, you took my words to be a 
meaningless joke and on the contrary you seek my death. Now these eaters of grain, 
barley and dried dates have left their dry, famine-stricken land and reached a land of 
fruit, vegetation, trees and lush greenery and they prefer the water and climate of our 
lands. Now nothing can evict them except firm resolution and fierce war. Were it not 
a disgrace, I would abandon Syria and go to Constantinople or else it seems as if I 
will have to personally fight them to defend my family." 


Part 1: Damascus 

They replied, "Their damage is not so great as to necessitate Your August Majesty's 
personal involvement in battle. Warden, the governor of Hims, our bravest warrior 
and ablest strategist, should be sent. You have seen his exploits against the Persians 
during their invasion." 

When Heraclius summoned him to appoint him, he replied, "Were it not for fear of 
your displeasure, I would refuse this appointment because you overlooked me in 
favour of others and left me for last." 

Heraclius : You were kept behind for a reason; because you are my sword and refuge. 
You will leave immediately with 12,000 men for Ba'labakk where the Ajnadayn 
army is encamped. Send part to Balqa and part to the Black Mountains with orders 
to prevent 'Amr bin al-As from joining Khalid bin al-Walid. 

Warden : I accept wholeheartedly. I shall not show my face until I bring you the heads 
of Khalid and his companions. Then I will invade al-Hijaz and level Makkah and al- 
Madinah to the ground. 

Heraclius : I swear by the Gospel! If you fulfil your vow, I will grant you all the 
'Arab-occupied territory and appoint you as my successor. 

21) Heraclius sends an army to Damascus 

Heraclius gave Warden a robe-of-honour, a scabbard and a gold cross which had 
expensive rubies encrusted on the four ends and said, "Keep this in front of you at 
the time of combat to assist you." Warden took the cross to a monastery where he 
sprinkled holy water on himself for blessing. The monks and priests prayed for his 
victory and burned incense. He then encamped outside the city at the Persian Gate 
and selected some people to accompany him. When all the preparations had been 
made, Heraclius accompanied him, with his officials, to the Iron Bridge from where 
he took the Ma'rat route and reached Hamah. From there, he sent a message to the 
army at Ajnadayn, "All roads and mountain-passes should be sealed off to prevent 
'Amr bin al-'As from joining Khalid bin al-Walid." 

He then gathered all his officers and said, "I wish to ambush the Arabs and catch 
them all. None will be able to escape." 

All agreed, so they took the Salamiyah and Wadi al-Hayyat route and marched at 



Shaddad bin Aws 4fc narrates: 

After Khalid <& had executed Calius and Uriel, he ordered us to attack Damascus. 
Some bedouins went ahead carrying leather shields. When the enemy saw this, they 
started flinging stones and arrows at us. The Yamanis fired back with their arrows. 
The Romans began raising a cry - they were convinced that due to our impregnable 
siege, they would either be destroyed or made captive. 

On the twentieth day of the siege, Nadl bin Murrah came and informed us that the 
Romans had gathered a massive force at Ajnadayn. Khalid *i& rode to Abu 'Ubaydah 
•$> at al-Jabiyah Gate to consult him and said, "O trustworthy one of the Ummah, I 
feel that we should invade Ajnadayn and after winning, return here." 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^ : I cannot agree. 

Khalid 4b : Why not? 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> '■ Because we have tormented the Damascenes with a complete 
siege which has terrified them. If we leave now, they will have an opportunity to re- 
equip and renew their strength so that when we return it will be hard for us. 
Therefore, I do not feel it appropriate to move an inch from here." 

Khalid &> : I accept what you say. 

He returned to the Eastern Gate and ordered all squadron officers to mount intense 
attacks on Damascus while he himself attacked the Eastern Gate. The people of 
Damascus underwent such difficulty on that day as they had never suffered before. 
Khalid <&> was encouraging the Muslims while reciting this war-poem: 

Who will inform Abu Bakr that we 

Are fighting the Roman army 

Allah has prohibited except that I break the Disbelievers 

And relieve my spear s thirst with blood of Roman leaders. 

Many victims will I fling to the ground 

Many will weep at a friend no longer found. 

The Muslims increased the intensity of attack, but the Romans protected by their 
fortress were still holding out on the twenty-first day. Their condition deteriorated 
with the lengthening siege and they lost all hope of receiving reinforcements from 
Caesar. They sent an envoy to offer peace in exchange for 1,000 Uqiyah silver (122.5 


Part 1: Damascus 

kg), 500 Uqiyah gold (61.2 kg) and 100 cloths of brocade and said, "Please come so 
that we can give you these things." 

Khalid & refused, saying, "We cannot compromise on this. Your choice remains one 
of these three - Islam, Jizyah or battle." 

The envoy then returned to inform them. 

'Urwah bin Shaddad narrates: 

The Damascenes were more inclined to Abu 'Ubaydah & than Khalid «fc because the 
former was an old man who promised peace while the latter was a threatening 
warrior. Khalid & gave the order for attack when suddenly the Damascenes were 
seen clapping their hands, dancing and shouting cries of victory, so he asked the 
soldiers who had reached the top of the fort walls what was happening. They 
gestured in the direction of the mountain and Bayt Luhya, where he saw such a 
massive dust-cloud rising that it blackened the heavens and earth. He understood that 
reinforcements were arriving so he alerted the Muslims and ordered them to prepare 
themselves. The Muslims mounted their horses with naked blades in their hands - 
each division under its own commander. Then scouts came to report that a massive 
army was present at the mountain, most probably a Roman army. Khalid «fe 
exclaimed, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through 
Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty." 

22) Khalid 4> consults Abu 'Ubaydah & 

Khalid & spurred his horse and went to Abu 'Ubaydah & at al-Jabiyah Gate and 
informed him of the latest developments. 

Khalid 4* : I intend taking all the Muslims to attack the enemy. What is your opinion? 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : No, because if the Damascenes see this territory unoccupied they 
will take it. 

Khalid .& : Then what should we do? 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : A great brave warrior should be chosen to attack them. If he sees 
that his chances are good, he should proceed otherwise he should return. 

Khalid & : In our army there is one such person who does not fear death; an expert 
and brave warrior and whose father and father's brother were both martyred in Jihad. 



Abu 'Ubaydah 4* : Who is it? 

Khalid 4» : Dirar bin al-Azwar bin Sinan bin Tariq. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : By Allah! You have chosen exactly the right man. 

Khalid 4* returned to the Eastern Gate and summoned Dirar <$.. 

Dirar 4» : As-Salamu 'Alayka. 

Khalid 4& : Ibn al-Azwar, I am sending you against the enemy with 500 horsemen 
who have sold their lives to Allah in exchange for Paradise, who give preference to 
the Permanent Abode above the temporary abode and the Hereafter over this world. 
If you see that you stand a chance then attack, otherwise return. 

Dirar 4*> : Ibn al-Walid, what joy! You have made me more happy today than I have 
ever been. In fact, if you permit, I shall do this work on my own. 

Khalid 4* : You are indeed very brave, clever and energetic but it would amount to 
suicide if you do not take the help I am giving you and Allah has forbidden this. 

23) Dirar 's <$> expedition 

Dirar 4& armed himself and was in a hurry to set off, but Khalid 4* said to him, "For 
Allah's sake have mercy on yourself and have patience until the squadron is ready." 

Dirar 4* replied, "By Allah! I cannot wait any longer. Whoever considers Jihad to be 
the best virtue can come and join me there." 

So saying, he sped off until he reached Bayt Luhya where he waited until his 
companions arrived. When their numbers were completed, they saw the Roman army 
wearing glittering armour like a swarm of locusts descending from the mountain, so 
numerous as if they were clothing the mountain with their presence. The Sahabah & 
said to Dirar 4*, "By Allah! What a large army. It is better that we return." 

Dirar 4b : By Allah! I will fight in the Path of Allah treading the path of those who 
have turned towards Him. Allah will not find me turning my back and running away, 
for He Himself says, 


Part 1: Damascus 

...Do not turn your backs (to flee) from them. [8:16] 

So when He has ordered this and I return, I will be disobeying him and will be a 

Raft' bin 'Umayrah : O my people, what is there to fear from these irreligious 
people? Has Allah not granted you victory in most places? Have not our small forces 
repelled their gigantic numbers? Victory only comes with patience. So follow the 
ancient pious ones by crying with all humility in front of the court of the Lord of all 
the Worlds, recite the du'a of King Saul's companions when they faced Goliath: 

Our Rabbi Shower us with patience, make our feet firm and 
assist us against the Disbelievers. [2:250] 

Also, recite from the Quran: 

How many a small band defeated a massive army with Allah 's 
help? And Allah is with the patient ones. [2:249] 

This speech emboldened them, so they said, "Allah will not see us fleeing from the 
battle. We will definitely fight the Disbelievers." 

Dirar & understood that they had preferred the Hereafter over the world and so 
ordered them to hide in ambush near Bayt Luhya. While bare-chested, he took a long 
spear and mounted an 'Arab horse to face the Romans. 



Salamah bin Khuwaylid narrates: 

I was with Dirar's <&> squadron, when bare-chested, he mounted his 'Arabian horse 
desiring martyrdom. He advanced and attacked the Romans shouting, "Allahu 

The Muslims responded with shouts of, "Allahu Akbar!" which terrified the 
Christians. I saw Dirar 4& riding towards the Roman vanguard where Warden was 
stationed with crosses and flags erected near him and a band of warriors encircled 
him. They were just as willing to shed their blood for him as they were willing to 
shed their sweat for him. Dirar 4& recognised him to be the general and so challenged 
the vanguard soldiers, "Is there any challenger?" and then recklessly moved to attack 
the centre-wing. Taking careful aim, he pierced the mounted flag-bearer with his 
lance. The Roman lost the flag and fell beneath his horse. Dirar 4b then turned to the 
right and slew a Roman. Returning his gaze to the centre he saw Warden. Near 
Warden there sat a Roman on a dirty white mongrel horse carrying a jewel- 
encrusted cross. Dirar •$> speared him in the side, reaching his intestines. The cross 
fell to the ground while the bearer reeled and went to Hell. Warden saw this as an 
omen of his own destruction and so dismounted to pick up the cross. Some Muslims 
hastily dismounted and encircled the cross, thus preventing him from reaching it. 
Dirar & shouted, "O Muslims! Neither I nor you are yet entitled to that cross so do 
not have any desire to pick it up. I will pick it up myself after I have finished off this 
Roman dog and his army." 

Warden understood 'Arabic and so wanted to flee when he heard these words, but the 
officers said, "Where are you fleeing to, O our general?" 

Warden replied, "I am fleeing out of fear of that devil. What a disgusting sight he is. 
Have you ever seen anything more ugly and fearful than that?" 

The narrator reports that when Dirar 4» saw him turning his back, he understood that 
he was fleeing. So shouting loudly at the Muslims, he straightened his spear and 
spurred his horse. He was close to reaching Warden, when the Romans attacked so 
fiercely that his horse was stopped. At that time he was reciting this poem: 


VJ L -^J t#-» '•*-* J-*J j^*- u- W hM~Z\* <J>^ '■*-* 


Part 1: Damascus 

Death is a reality, there is no escape I can devise 
Far better than Hell-fire is Firdaws-Paradise. 

This is my martyrdom so bear witness 
That all this I have done for Allah 's happiness! 

He scattered the Romans and continued in pursuit of the general but the Romans 
pursued him until they gradually managed to surround him. He attacked in all 
directions terminating the breath of whichever irritant he speared and felling 
whichever warrior approached him. Thus he returned most of them to the Earth and 
sent them to eternal sleep. Then he called out to the Muslims: 

Verily Allah loves those who fight in His Path in rows as if they 
are a single solid structure. [61:4] 

Before any Muslim could respond, the Romans began rushing to him with great noise 
with the Muslims following and fighting. Warden's son Hamran, shot an arrow into 
Dirar's 4* right-hand side, paining him and disabling his hand. Like an 
uncontrollable lion, Dirar 4* pounced and thrust his spear into Hamran's chest, 
piercing his heart. As he withdrew the spear, the point snapped, staying firm in the 
vertebrae. Seeing the spear pointless, the Romans surrounded him and, at last, 
managed to subdue him. 

24) The mysterious warrior 

The Sahabah took Dirar's capture very hard and launched a fierce attack to save him 
but were unsuccessful. They were dislodged and started fleeing when Rafi' bin 
'Umayrah shouted, "Memorisers and bearers of the Quran, where are you going? Do 
you not know that those who flee out of fear of the enemy are showered with Allah's 
anger and with defeat? That most of the gates of Paradise are open for Mujahidin and 
patient ones? O bearers of this Din, be patient and attack the worshippers of the cross. 
Bear in mind that even if your leader has been captured, Allah is still Ever- Living 
and watching you and I am present to take the lead in front of you." The Muslims 



were galvanised and gathered under his leadership. They launched an attack in which 
many men and most of the Roman leaders were killed. When Khalid * heard about 
Dirar's 4i> capture and the Muslims' martyrdom, he was beside himself with grief and 
asked, "How many Romans are there?" The informer replied, "12,000." 

Khalid 4k : By Allah! Had I known that they are so many then I would never have 
sent my people to destruction.. .Who is their general? 

Informer : Warden, governor of Hims. Dirar 4k killed his son, Hamran. 

Khalid 4t '■ There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except with 
Allah's help, the Most High, the Most Mighty. 

Then he sent a messenger to seek Abu 'Ubaydah's 4k opinion. His reply was, "Place 
a reliable man in charge of some men to continue the siege of the Eastern Gate while 
you yourself lead the attack on the enemy. I am confident that you will grind them 
like a mill in no time at all." 

Upon receiving this message Khalid & said, "By Allah! I am not of those who are 
miserly in spending their lives in the Path of Allah." 

He then said to Maysarah bin Masruq al-'Absi, "I am leaving you in charge of 1,000 
horsemen. Do not leave your position, but make du'a and place your trust in Allah." 

Maysarah bin Masruq al- 'Absi : I accept wholeheartedly. 

Khalid 4k then addressed the army, "Let go of the horses' bridles and hold your 
spears firmly instead. When we are close to the enemy, then attack altogether. 
Perhaps we will rescue Dirar if he is still alive or else if they have martyred him, we 
will certainly avenge him if Allah wills. I hope that Allah will not cause us grief with 
regard to Dirar." 

So saying, he rode ahead of his men reciting this war-poem: 

JjJLJIj t£iJ» <>-JS ,>£j-*Sf i$J-*Jl <£p ^ £^J J^jj^i 


Part 1: Damascus 

Today the truthful one will attain his goal 

He is not afraid when death snatches his soul. 

My spear s thirst quench will I 

With blood flowing from the eye. 

I will pierce both shield and helmet 

And get that which yesterday the predecessors did get. 

While he was reciting this poem, he suddenly saw a tall, short-necked fawn horse 
upon which sat a rider carrying a glittering spear. The rider's behaviour and 
appearance projected a kind of wisdom and the riding-style showed bravery. The 
warrior held the bridle loosely but sat firmly in the saddle and wore armour covered 
in black cloth. A green girdle tied at the waist was spread over both his chest and 
back. Thus this rider rode ahead of the army like a blazing flame. 

Khalid & said, "I wonder who this horseman is. By Allah! He appears to be quite 
daring and brave." 

He continued behind the stranger heading towards the Christian camp. Rafi' bin 
'Umayrah was steadfastly holding out against the Romans when he saw Khalid's & 
reinforcements. The mysterious warrior pounced on the enemy like a mighty hawk 
on a tiny sparrow in an attack that wreaked havoc in the Roman lines and by 
perpetrating a massacre penetrated to their very centre. It was like lightning striking 
the heads of two or four youths, then burning to ashes another five or seven and then 
flashing yet again. Reaching the centre, the warrior displayed clear signs of 
frustration and anxiety and then began attacking again, ripping the Christian lines 
apart and advancing until the Muslims lost sight of this champion who all the while 
was growing ever more anxious. 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah and his men thought that that could only be Khalid &. Rafi' then 
saw him with his men so he called out, "O brave one, who is this horseman who risks 
his life in Allah's Path and slays the enemy without hesitation?" 

Khalid 4* : By Allah! I do not know. I am myself astonished at his daring and 

Rafi ' : What an amazing man who penetrates the Roman ranks and kills them left, 
right and centre. 

Khalid 4» : O Muslims, rise for the defence of Islam and attack together. 



The Muslims straightened their bridles, readied their spears and advanced in battle- 
formation with Khalid 4* in front. They were about to attack when they saw the 
stranger flashing at the heart of the Roman army soaked in blood and mounted on a 
horse drowning in perspiration. Despite trying to turn away from the approaching 
Romans, the Mujahid was still single-handedly facing several Romans at the same 
time. Khalid 4* and his men attacked them until they managed to bring the stranger 
to the Muslim ranks. 

The Muslims gazed at the visible top part of the stranger's face and found it to be like 
a crimson rose-petal dipped in blood. Khalid & said, "You have offered your life in 
the Path of Allah and vented your anger upon the enemies - may Allah reward you 
well. Now remove your mouth-cover so that we can see who you are." 

The mysterious warrior ignored him and went into the crowd. The crowd grabbed 
him and said, "O slave of Allah, the commander of the Islamic armies speaks to you 
and you dare to ignore him. Go to him and tell him your name and lineage so that he 
can promote you." 

They too received no reply, so Khalid * personally went and said, "How very sad 
that I and in fact all the Muslims wish to know about you but you could not care. 
Who are you?" 

He repeatedly insisted until eventually a feminine voice replied, "O commander, I 
have not avoided you out of disobedience, but out of modesty for I am of those who 
seclude themselves behind the veil. My sorrow and broken heart forced me here." 

Khalid & : Who are you? 

Stranger : The captive Dirar's sister, Khawlah bint al-Azwar. I was sitting with the 
women of the Mathhij tribe when I heard of Dirar's capture. So I immediately 
mounted and came here. The rest you already know. 

Hearing this, Khalid's 4fe heart was struck with wonder and tears welled out 

Khalid 4z '■ We will attack together. I have firm conviction that Allah will let us reach 
your brother and free him. 

Khawlah : If Allah wills then I shall be in the front line. 


Part 1: Damascus 

25) Search for Dirar & 

'Amir bin at-Tufayl 4t> narrates: 

I was on Khalid bin al-Walid's 4» right side and Khawlah was in front of him 
attacking. All the Muslims followed the attack. Khawlah put them to such difficulty 
that they started saying to each other, "If all the 'Arabs are as brave as this one then 
we will never be able to overcome them." 

When Khalid & attacked, the Romans lost their wits and trembled. They were close 
to being dislodged but Warden started shouting, "My people, be careful and stand 
firm. If you stand firm, they will flee and the Damascenes will help us. So the 
Romans started putting up stiff resistance. But when Khalid and his men attacked, 
their feet could not remain firm and they scattered in disorder. 

Khalid 4& attempted to reach Warden but a group of brave warriors who circled their 
leader prevented him. The Muslims also spread out with Muslim and Christian 
engaged in single combat. Rafi' bin 'Umayrah displayed exceptional bravery while 
Khawlah broke through several ranks to reach the centre striking out in all directions. 
She was searching for her brother everywhere while loudly reciting this poem: 

Where is Dirar, him I do not see 

While he does not see my tribe and family. 

O my one and only brother 

And son of my own mother, 

You have ended my peace of mind 

And now sleep I cannot find. 

All the Muslims who heard this poem wept. 

The battle continued but despite extensive searching, no sign of Dirar 4» was to be 
found. When the sun set, the two opposing forces returned to their own camps with 
the scales tipped in the Muslims' favour and the Romans suffering a heavy toll. The 
Muslim victory broke the Romans' hearts and they would have fled had it not been 
for their fear of Warden. Khawlah questioned each Muslim soldier in the camp about 
her brother, but none had seen him - dead or alive. When she had lost all hope, she 
began to weep bitterly and said, "O son of my mother! If only I had some news of 
you, even if it was that you were left lying in some jungle or slaughtered somewhere. 
May your sister be sacrificed for you. It is most saddening that I do not even know 



if we will ever meet. By Allah! You have left a burning ember in your sister's heart 
that will never cool. Now go and meet your father, the slayer of Disbelievers, in the 
presence of Muhammad H. I bid you continuous salam until Judgement Day." 

This mourning reduced the Muslims to tears. 

Khalid & intended to launch another attack, but suddenly saw a group of Roman 
horsemen breaking off from the right-wing. They did not keep hold of their bridles 
and were coming in a hurry as if they were chasing something. Khalid 4& called the 
Muslims to arms and they swiftly gathered around him. When the Roman horsemen 
came near they threw down their arms and came on foot begging for safety. Khalid 
4t ordered the Muslims to accept their plea and bring them to him. 

Khalid & : Who are you? 

Romans : We are soldiers of Warden and inhabitants of Hims. We are fully convinced 
that we can bring no power against you and do not have the strength to defeat you. 
Grant us, our families and our children protection on the same terms which you have 
granted other cities. State whatever indemnity you want and our people will not 
oppose your terms. 

Khalid %*• : We can only make an agreement once we have reached your city, not here. 
In the meantime, you will stay with us until Allah makes a decision between us and 
the enemy. 

He ordered them to be watched over and again spoke to them. 

Khalid &, : Do you know anything about our warrior who killed your general's son? 

Romans : Are you asking about that bare-chested man who killed many of our men 
including the general's son? 

Khalid <& : Yes, that is him. 

Romans : After his capture Warden put him on a mule and sent him with 100 
horsemen to Hims. From there he will be sent to Heraclius to display his bravery. 

Khalid * was pleased to hear this and summoned Rafi' bin 'Umayrah. 

Khalid •$> : Rafi', you know this region's roads and mountain-passes well. Your 
planning and improvising helped us to easily cross the barren plains of such places 
as as-Samawah. That is, when you kept the camels thirsty and then gave them to 
drink and tied their mouths shut so that you could slaughter ten daily to feed us and 


Part 1: Damascus 

give the horses to drink from the water that then came from the bellies of the camels 
until we reached Arakah. You are thus a very experienced man and a distinguished 
planner. 100 horsemen are taking Dirar to Hims. I am appointing you to pick 
whoever you wish to go with you in pursuit of them. I feel that you will be able to 
catch up to them soon and rescue him. If you achieve this you will cause great 
happiness and will solve a great problem. 

Rafi ' : I readily accept. 

He selected 100 horsemen and was about to depart when Khawlah found out. A wave 
of happiness swept her so she prepared her weapons and went to Khalid & saying, 
"For the love of Muhammad ®, send me with them so that I can be of assistance." 

Khalid 4&> said to Rafi', "You are well aware of her bravery, so take her with you." 

He happily took her along and left. 

26) Dirar 's 4fe rescue 

Khawlah rode behind the men, who were riding in military formation, until they 
reached the Salamiyah Road. Rafi' looked around and could not find any signs of an 
army having passed by nor any signs of hoof-prints, so he said, "Glad tidings my 
friends! The enemy has not yet reached here." He then ordered them to hide in 
ambush in Wadi al-Hayyat and while they were waiting they saw a dust-cloud 
coming. Rafi' declared, "O young sons of Islam, be alert." The enemy approached 
with Dirar & in their centre reciting this poem: 

Give this message to Khawlah and my family, O informer. 

My hands are tied behind my back - 1 am a prisoner. 

The Syrians surround me each a disbeliever 

All of them are wearing armour. 

O heart, sorrow and regret have made you dead 

O tears of my manhood, down my cheeks you are shed. 

Do you know if ever I will see Khawlah and my family too 

And remind her of the agreement between us two? 

Khawlah shouted from her hiding place, "Allah has accepted your du'a and heard 
your plea. I am your sister, Khawlah!" She then came charging out shouting, "Allahu 
Akbar!" followed by Rafi' and the rest all shouting "Allahu Akbar!" 



Humayd bin Salim narrates: 

I was part of that force who, when we started raising our voices with, "Allahu Akbar! 
Allahu Akbar!", Allah inspired our horses to start neighing loudly. Each of us 
targeted a Roman and in a short while finished them off. Allah freed Dirar & and 
granted us the Romans' horses and weapons. 

Rafi' bin Qadim narrates: 

While we were engaging the Romans, Khawlah rescued her brother, untied him and 
made salam. He congratulated and welcomed her and then mounted a horse which 
was roaming around. He picked up a spear and recited the following poem: 

O Rabbi I thank You for accepting my prayer 

You have removed my sorrow, worry and care. 

You have fulfilled my desires and united my sister with me 

Today my heart will be satisfied against the enemy. 

While Rafi' bin 'Umayrah was gathering the booty, KMlid * scored a resounding 
victory against the Romans. They began fleeing in such terror and loss of spirit that 
those in front did not even glance back at those behind them. Rafi' saw them and 
understood what was happening. As they came he casually started arresting them one 
by one. 

After KMlid & had despatched Rafi', he launched an attack in which it seemed as if 
every Muslim was madly rushing towards martyrdom. The Romans immediately 
turned tail and fled, with Warden taking the unchallenged lead. The Muslims pursued 
them gathering booty, weapons and horses until they met Rafi' and Dirar * at Wadi 
al-Hayyat. Khalid 4b congratulated Dirar <& and thanked and praised Rafi'. 
Overjoyed, they returned to Damascus, where they informed Abu 'Ubaydah <&, of 
their victory. The conquest of Damascus was now a certainty. 

27) Heraclius's letter to Warden 

When Heraclius heard of the Roman defeat and the great death-toll, he felt certain 
that his empire was coming to an end, so he wrote the following letter to Warden: 

"I have been informed that a group of naked, hungry 'Arabs 
have defeated you and slain your son. Jesus showed no pity to 


Part 1: Damascus 

you nor to your son. Were it not for the fact that I know you to 
be an expert horseman, lancer and swordsman, I would have 
had you executed. In any case, whatever has happened has 
happened. I have sent an army of 90,000 to Ajnddayn. You are 
to go and take command of them and lead them to assist the 
people of Damascus. Send a detachment to fight the 'Arabs in 
Palestine, separate them from the 'Arabs at Damascus. Defend 
your religion and people. " 

Warden cheered up and prepared for travel. When he reached Ajnadayn, he found the 
Romans in a state of great pomp, displaying their crosses. They came out to 
welcome him and offered condolences for his son. When he reached the tents, he read 
out Heraclius's order which they readily accepted and prepared for war. 

28) Muslims receive intelligence on Ajnadayn 

Khalid * returned to the Eastern Gate after the victory where he met 'Abbad bin 
Sa'id. Shurahbil ^ had sent him from Busra to inform Khalid *fe> of the 90,000 
Romans sent to Ajnadayn. Khalid & went to Abu 'Ubaydah & and said, "O 
trustworthy one of the Ummah, this is 'Abbad bin Sa'id al-Hadrami. Shurahbil sent 
him to inform me that Heraclius has sent 90,000 men to Ajnadayn under the 
command of Warden. What is your opinion? 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : Abu Sulayman, our top generals are all scattered - Shurahbil is in 
Busra, Mu'ath bin Jabal is in Hawran, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan is in Balqa, Nu'man bin 
Mughirah is in Palmyra and 'Amr bin al-As is in Palestine. Write to them, 
summoning them to us so that we can mount a joint attack. Thereafter, safety and 
help are in the Hands of Allah. 

Khalid & therefore wrote the following letter to 'Amr ,&: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

Your Muslim brothers intend going to Ajnddayn because there 
are 90,000 Disbelievers there who desire to extinguish Allah's 
Light, but Allah will complete His Light even if the Disbelievers 
dislike it. Therefore take your entire force and go to Ajnddayn 



where we will meet each other if Allah wills. Convey my saldm 
to all Muslims. 

Was-Saldmu 'Alayka. 
Thereafter, he wrote similar instructions to all the above mentioned generals. 

29) Paulus and his wife 

Khalid 4» gave orders for marching, so the tents were loaded onto camels while the 
sheep and booty were set aside. Khalid $>> said to Abu 'Ubaydah <&, "I intend to stay 
at the rear-guard with the sheep, women and booty. You take the special Sahabah on 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> : It is better if I take the rear-guard and you the vanguard so that if 
you come across Warden, he will be terrified at the sight of you. Therefore do not 
stay with the women and goods. 

Khalid 4& : Very well, I will not oppose you. 

Before leaving he addressed the Muslims as follows, "O people! You are going 
towards a massive force, but be brave, love death and work towards whatever Allah 
has decreed. He has promised victory and says in the Quran: 

^r, A 

How often a small group overcame a mighty force with Allah 's 
leave? And Allah is with the patient ones. [2:249] 

Thereafter, the army marched ahead, leaving Abu 'Ubaydah <& stationed at 
Damascus with 1,000 cavalry. The people of Damascus were overjoyed, thinking that 
the Muslims were fleeing in terror of the Ajnadayn army. However some intelligent 
ones cautioned that if they took the Ba'labakk route, then they intended to attack 
Ba'labakk and Hims and if they took the Marjash-Shahura and Rahit Highway then 
it meant that they were fleeing back to al-Hijaz and abandoning whatever they had 


Part 1: Damascus 

A great general, Paulus, son of Balca, was at Damascus. The Christians venerated 
him to such an extent that even Heraclius would summon him to deal with difficult 
embassies. An unrivalled archer - he had shot an arrow right into a massive stout tree 
in his garden. The arrow was still there and he wrote on the tree, "Whoever claims 
to be a great warrior must shoot an arrow from the other side which must enter the 
tree!" This was a much talked about incident amongst the commoners. 

Paulus had not engaged in any combat against the Sahabah & since their invasion of 
Syria. When they withdrew, the inhabitants went to see him. 

Paulus : Why have you come? 

Damascenes : The 'Arab withdrawal is a golden opportunity for you to permanently 
establish your prestige with Heraclius and the Syrians. Accompany us to capture any 
stragglers we might find, or if you feel yourself capable, we can attack them. 

Paulus : The only thing that has prevented me from fighting them is your cowardice 
and also I see no reason to fight them. 

Damascenes : We swear in the name of Christ and the Bible that we will stay with 
you until the last breath. None will desert. If anyone does, then feel free to kill him. 

Because of their oath, Paulus went inside his house and put on his armour to join 
them. Seeing this, his wife asked, "Where are you going?" 

Paulus : The people of Damascus have put me in charge of them. I am leading them 
against the 'Arabs. 

Wife : Do not do it! Stay at home and do not go needlessly against that which you are 
powerless against. I dreamt last night that you were holding a bow in your hand. You 
shot at sparrows in the sky. Some fell down wounded but then started flying again. I 
was amazed at them flying again when suddenly a group of eagles swooped down on 
you and your companions and scratched all your faces with their talons. You and your 
men then fled, but whoever had been scratched fell down unconscious. This sight 
frightened me and I awoke, fearful for your sake. 

Paulus : Was I also unconscious in your dream? 

Wife : I swear by God that I saw an eagle violently pecking you unconscious. 

Thereupon Paulus gave her a hard smack. 



Paulus : You foretell no good. Does fear of the 'Arabs sit so firmly in your heart that 
you now dream of them? Have no fear. I shall make their commander your attendant 
and his companions shepherds and pigheads. 

Wife : It is your choice, I have given my advice. 

Paulus ignored her and left riding accompanied by 6,000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry 
from Damascus, all of them highly experienced. Khalid 4b had withdrawn the army, 
so Paulus targeted Abu 'Ubaydah 4b who was with the women, children and booty. 

30) The Battle of Shakhura 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b and his men were mounted on camels when one of them saw a 
dust-cloud rising in the distance. He informed him and said, "As far as I can tell it is 
the dust of the enemy." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> replied, "It is certainly the Damascenes, who seeing us few in 
number, have come to attack us." He waited until the women's litters and the sheep 
had all arrived. At the same time, the dust was increasing and voices rising. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4& called out, "O Muslims, be alert. The enemy have arrived." He had 
hardly said this when the enemy descended upon them like pitch black darkness. 
Paulus was leading the 6,000 strong cavalry. When he saw Abu 'Ubaydah 4b, he led 
them against him. Simultaneously, his brother, Peter, led the infantry to the women 
where he captured some and then headed back for Damascus. When he reached the 
Istiryaq River, he stopped to receive news on Paulus. 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4& saw this disaster he said, "Khalid was right in wanting to 
stay." Paulus advanced with marks and crosses hanging on his head. At that time, the 
Muslim women were very anxious while the boys were shrieking. Although 1,000 
men were present, they had left to engage the Romans. Allah's enemy, Paulus, 
attacked Abu 'Ubaydah 4b who fought back. The battle between the Sahabah 4k and 
the Romans heated, dust was rising, swords were flashing so viciously that Shakhura 
became a bed of tulips (fallen heads like tulips red with blood? - translator 's note). 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4b was in a difficult situation, but remained firm. 

Suhayl bin Sabbah narrates: 

I was riding a Yamani horse with white marks on its forehead and legs. I pulled the 
reins and let go so that it sped like a flash of lightning and, before I knew it, was close 


Part 1: Damascus 

to Khalid bin al-Walid. I shouted at him, so he turned his horse in my direction and 
said, "What is wrong, Ibn Sabbah?" 

I said, "O commander, go to Abu 'Ubaydah and the women. An army from Damascus 
has attacked them and captured some women and children. Abu 'Ubaydah is in a 
very tight situation and cannot hold out much longer." He exclaimed, "Verily we 
belong to Allah and to Him we return. By Allah! I wanted to stay at the back, but he 
did not listen. But in any case, none can question Allah's decree." 

He then ordered Rafi' bin 'Umayrah to immediately take 1,000 cavalry to protect the 
women and ordered 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr to take 1,000 cavalry against the 
enemy. Then he despatched Dirar 4&> and Qays bin Hubayrah al-Muradi with 1,000 
men against them. Thereafter, he went forth with the rest of the army. Abu 
'Ubaydah *fe was fighting Paulus when the Muslims arrived. They attacked the 
enemies of Allah so forcefully that their crosses fell and they were convinced that 
they would be defeated. When Paulus saw Dirar <& blazing towards him, he lost his 
wits and shivered because he had personally seen from the top of the city walls what 
had happened to great warriors like Calius and Uriel and what had happened at Bayt 
Luhya. He recognised Dirar and said to Abu 'Ubaydah, "O 'Arab, I ask you for the 
sake of your religion to keep this devil away from me." Dirar said, "If I do not try to 
catch you, then I will be a devil." 

Paulus, seeing him thrusting his spear in his direction, jumped off his horse and ran 
towards his army. Dirar <$> also dismounted to chase him and shouted, "Where can 
you flee to when this devil is right behind you?" 

Paulus said, "Spare me, O bedouin, for in sparing my life you will be saving your 
women and children." So Dirar & spared him and arrested him instead, while the 
Muslims launched such an attack which silenced the Romans. 

Majid bin Ruwaym al-'Ayni narrates: 

I was in the army of 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr at the battle of Shakhura. We 
surrounded the 6,000 Romans and massacred them. 

Rifa'ah bin Qays narrates: 

As far as we know, only 100 out of the 6,000 survived. It is reported that Dirar •&> 
was very upset to hear that his sister was captured and so went to Khalid <& and 



informed him. He replied, "Do not worry, we have captured their leaders. We shall 
go to Damascus and free our women in exchange for the prisoners." 

Then he said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b, "You move slowly with the women while I go and 
free the captives." He selected 2,000 horsemen to go with him while despatching the 
rest with Abu 'Ubaydah & for fear of an encounter with Warden. 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah, Maysarah bin Masruq al-'Absi, Dirar and other chiefs & rode 
ahead of Khalid 4s> and they soon traversed the distance. 

Dirar & was reciting this poem as they were going: 

O Rabb remove that from which we suffer 

Do not grant me death before I see my sister. 

This is my desire and wish so 

Come my friends, with me to the foe. 

Then my intention will find completion 

If I survive (unsuccessful) shave my beard (in humiliation). 

Khalid 4>= laughed at this. 

They continued until they neared the Istiryaq River where they saw a dust-cloud 
wherein flags fluttered and swords glittered. 

Khalid •&> : This is a strange sight. 

Qays : Perhaps it is the remainder of the Damascus cavalry. 

Khalid 4i> : Everyone keep your spears ready until we find out what is happening. 

They obeyed and went ahead. 

31) Bravery of the Muslim women 

Peter gathered the Muslim women at the river. He regarded Khawlah bint al-Azwar 
as the most beautiful and said to his men, "She is mine and I am hers. None of you 
should object." They accepted and so each one started choosing a woman and 
saying, "She is mine." They gathered the sheep and loot and awaited Paulus. The 
women were detained in a tent. Most of them were aged women from the tribes of 
Himyar, 'Amaliqah and Tubba, who were used to riding at night and fighting 'Arab 
tribesmen. Khawlah addressed them, "O daughters of Himyar! O valuable ones of 

Part 1: Damascus 

Tubba'! Does it please you to be overcome by Roman Disbelievers and be their 
slave-girls? What has happened to that bravery which was the talk of the slave-girls 
of Arabs and gatherings of 'Arabs? How sad that I now see you bereft of all bravery 
and honour. I consider death better than the humiliation of serving Romans." 

'Afirah bint 'Affdr al-Himyariyah : Whatever you have mentioned, O daughter of 
Azwar, about our bravery, intelligence and rank is quite true. It is also true that we 
are accustomed to horse-riding and putting the enemy to difficulty at night. However, 
what can we do when we have neither horse, nor spear, nor sword, nor any other 
weapon? You know very well that they came suddenly and caught us like lost sheep 
when we had no weapons. 

Khawlah : O daughters of Tubba', your negligence is no excuse. We can uproot the 
pegs and pillars of the tent and attack the wretches therewith. Perhaps Allah will 
grant us victory, or else at least we will attain martyrdom. In this way we will wipe 
the mark of disgrace from our foreheads. 

'Afirah : By Allah! What a wonderful and appropriate suggestion. 

So each women uprooted a peg. Khawlah bound her waist and, putting a peg on her 
shoulder, went ahead followed by 'Afirah, Umm Aban bint 'Utbah, Salamah bint 
Nu'man bin Muqirr and the others all shouting, "Is there any challenger?" 

Khawlah began instructing this female army on battle formation, "Be like the links 
of a chain, never separate. May Allah forbid that you separate, for then spears will 
pierce your breasts, swords will cut your necks, your skulls will be cut off and heaped 
here. She went and hit her peg so hard on a Roman's head that he dropped down 
dead. The Romans were thrown into confusion and started asking each other, "What 
is happening?", when suddenly they saw peg-carrying women advancing upon them. 
Peter shrieked at them, "What are you doing, you wretches?" 

'Afirah replied, "We have decided that today we willl rectify your brains with these 
tent-pegs and shorten your life-spans, thus removing a spot of disgrace from our 
ancestors' faces." 

Peter laughed and said to his people, "Shame on you. Go, spread out and catch them 
alive, but whoever catches Khawlah should not get any ideas." 

The Romans encircled them, but as soon as anyone came near, the women would 
break his horse's legs with the pegs and when he thus fell down, would smash up his 
face. In this way, thirty Romans were killed and none neared them. Peter became 
infuriated and followed by his companions, dismounted. They walked to the women 



shaking their fists and swords. The women hurried towards each other and said, 
"Death with honour is better than life with disgrace." 

Peter expended great effort in fighting the women but achieved nothing except 
frustration. He saw Khawlah like a fierce lion reciting the following poem: 

Himyar s and Tubba 's daughters are we 

For us to kill you is quite easy. 

For we are the flames of war 

We have for you great trouble in store. 

Peter listened to her. Her beauty enticed him. He said, "O my 'Arab woman, stop this 
now. I value you and will tell you my heart's secret which is sure to please you - will 
it not please you that I be your master considering the fact that I am the object of 
desire of every Christian woman. In addition, I have farms, orchards, wealth and 
cattle and hold a prestigious position with Heraclius. All this will be yours if only you 
stop destroying yourself with your own hands." Khawlah retorted, "You wretched 
unbelieving son of an unchaste adulterer! By Allah! I will take this peg and gouge 
your brains out. You are not even worthy of herding my camels and sheep let alone 
claim to be my equal." Peter became enraged and said to the Christians, "What 
greater shame can there be in all Syria and 'Arabia if a group of women manage to 
overcome you. Fear Jesus Christ and Caesar Heraclius and kill them all." 

The Christians became excited and attacked. The Muslim women patiently faced the 
attack until they saw KMlid's &■ men kicking up dust, their swords glittering therein. 
Khalid * stopped at a distance and said to his men, "Who will go and gather 
information for me?" 

Raff bin 'Umayrah volunteered and went and returned to report on the women 
defending themselves. 

Khalid '& : It is amazing! These are the women of the tribes of 'Amaliqah and Tubba. 
Some are of Tubba' bin Aqran, some of Tubba' bin Abi Karb, some of Thu Ra'in, 
some of 'Abdul Kala'al-Mu'azhzham and some of Tubba' bin Hassan bin Tubba'. 
Tubba' bin Hassan bin Tubba' was the man who bore witness to Muhammad S being 
a Prophet before he was born. He said in his poem: 


Part 1: Damascus 

r- p o-f' J 

That Ahmad is Allah s Messenger is my testification 

His Ummah is named in the Psalms as Best Nation. 

If I live until his time serve him I will 

And be minister to the son of his uncle. 

O Rati', these women are known for their fighting. If they are really displaying such 
feats of bravery which you describe, then they will permanently put their stamp on 
ihe 'Arabs and will remove the brand of weakness from the foreheads of females. 

The Muslims' faces brightened with joy at Rafi"s report on the women's bravery and 
Krar 4Sb leapt with joy. He threw off the old shawl he was wearing and grabbed his 
spear, intending to be the first to reach them, but Khalid 4» called out, "Wait a while 
Dirar, do not be hasty. He who does a job with patience completes it, while he who 
hastens hardly achieves more than intentions." 

Dirar *fc> : O commander, how can I be patient in helping my sister? 

Khalid 4^ : If Allah wills, help and victory is at hand. 

He then lined up the horses, raised the flag and going to the centre, said, "O Muslims! 
When you approach the enemy spread out and surround them. Have trust in Allah 
that He will free our women and have mercy on our children." 

They cheerfully answered him and so he rode at their head. 

The Christians were preoccupied with the women when the army arrived with flags 
fluttering. Khawlah called out, "O daughters of Tubba', Allah has shown mercy to 
you and has gladdened your hearts." 

When Peter saw the Islamic army arriving with all its splendour, with their spears all 
aligned and swords flashing, his heart trembled and his shoulders shook. The men 
were alarmed and looked at each other. Peter said to the women, "Since we also have 
daughters-in-law, daughters, mothers, sisters and aunts, my heart has been filled with 
love and pity for you. For the sake of the Cross I free you. When your men arrive you 
can tell them this." 



He grabbed his horse's bridle intending to flee but before the horse could start 
galloping, he saw two riders coming from the Muslims towards him. One was 
wearing armour while the other was bare-chested, riding an 'Arab horse bare-back 
and carrying a spear. The first was Khalid 4fe, the second Dirar •&. 

When Khawlah saw her brother, she shouted, "Where were you all this time, my 
brother? Allah has made us independant of your help." 

Peter then shouted at her, "Go to your brother even if it will break my heart, but I 
hand you over to him." 

He then wanted to leave, but she went to him and said, "That you (supposedly) 
extend your hand in harmony and then we turn away from you is not the way of us 
'Arabs. You are but a slave of your desires and seekers of pleasure." She then went 
right in front of him. 

Peter : My love for you has left my heart. I do not want to see your face. 

Khawlah : O but / cannot ever let go of you! 

She then rushed at him, while Khalid & and Dirar * came to join her, with the whole 
army coming in that direction. 

Peter : O 'Arab, take your sister. Congratulations, I give her to you. 

Dirar : Very well, I accept, but at the moment I have nothing to give in exchange 
except the point of the spear. So take it. 

~ * I . ■*£— ■* / , f . L f «r x ■* * i 

LAjij jl lls-4 ( y~«^-L> \jjpx3 <*>tlj iw> lilj 

When you are greeted with a greeting, greet back better than 
that or at least return it equally. [4:86] 

He attacked and struck at his heart while Khawlah struck the horse's leg. Dizzy, it 
fell down and Allah's enemy was about to fall on the ground when Dirar stabbed him 
in the side, the point wriggling from place to place until he fell down on the ground 
dead. Khalid *fe shouted, "Congratulations. This is such a spear whose owner is never 
unsuccessful." Meanwhile, the Muslims had surrounded the Romans and killed 


Part 1: Damascus 

Hamid bin 'Awn ar-Raba'i narrates: 

I counted that Dirar killed thirty, while his sister also killed many with her peg. I saw 
'Afirah bin 'Affar fight more fiercely than I had ever seen her fighting before. The 
Muslims pursued the surviving Romans right up to Damascus. None came out to help 
them, instead they grew even more afraid than before. The Muslims returned, 
gathering booty, horses and weapons. Khalid 4s> called out, "O people, hurry back to 
Abu 'Ubaydah before Warden reaches him." 

Dirar 4t> had mounted Peter's head on his spear. The Muslims marched until they 
reached the camp at Marj ar-Rahit where Abu 'Ubaydah 4b had stopped. His army 
raised loud cries of "Allahu Akbar!" followed by Khalid's men responding similarly. 
The two leaders then met and made salam. The Muslims were happy to see the 
women and were overjoyed at the report that was heard. It was thought that Allah's 
help was with them and that the conquest of Syria was now a certainty. Thereafter 
Khalid 4» summoned Paulus. 

Khalid * : Accept Islam or suffer the same fate as your brother. 

Paulus : What has happened to him? 

Khalid 4fe : He has been killed. In fact, his head is here. 

He called for the head which he put in front of Paulus who wept. 

Paulus : There is no pleasure left in life after my brother's death. Let me meet him. 

Musayyib bin Najiyah al-Fazari stood up and upon receiving the order, struck off 
Paulus' head. The Muslims then left. 

32) Sahabah 4> reach Ajnadayn 

It is narrated that when Shurahbil, Mu'ath bin Jabal, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan and 'Amr 
bin al-'As & received Khalid's <& instructions, they immediately left with their 
armies for Ajnadayn and arrived there. 

Safinah <&, the servant of Rasulullah ft narrates: 

I was with Mu'ath bin Jabal when we and the other Muslim armies all arrived at the 
same time at Ajnadayn in the beginning of Jumada al-Ula, 13 Hijri and made salam 
to each other. I saw a huge Roman army. When they saw us, they paraded before us. 



They lined up their infantry and cavalry who were spread out in the field of 
Ajnadayn - there were ninety rows with 1,000 men in each row. 

Dahhak bin 'Urwah * narrates: 

I had gone to 'Iraq and had seen the armies of Kisra and Jaramiqah but, by Allah, I 
had never seen an army as huge and as well-armed as that Roman army. We 
encamped there and the next day when it was barely daylight, the Romans started 
moving in our direction. When we saw them, we went on alert and started preparing. 
Khalid * came to us on horseback and said, "O Muslims, you will never again see 
an army as huge as the one you are facing today. If you defeat them then no similar 
army will be able to face you until the Day of Judgement. Expend your life in the 
way of Jihad and in defence of the honour of Allah's Din. Beware of deserting, for it 
is tantamount to flinging yourself into Hell. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder, wave your 
swords but do not attack until I tell you to. Keep your spirits high." 

Reliable narrators report that when Warden saw the Sahabah & of Rasulullah $& 
gathering for battle, he gathered all his officers and said, "O Romans, Heraclius has 
placed great trust in you. If you are defeated then there is no-one else who can face 
the 'Arabs. They will then conquer your cities, kill your men and capture your 
women. You must fight courageously and with unity. Remember that you are triple 
their number. Every three of you will face only one of them. Finally, seek help from 
the Cross for it will certainly help you." 

Khalid <*> faced the Muslims and said, "O warriors of Islam, who will go and 
gather intelligence on the Roman numbers, strategies and equipment?" 

Dirar 4h : O commander, I am ready for this work. 

Khalid & : By Allah! You are the very man, but when you reach there, do not 
needlessly entrap yourself for Allah says: 

^ji jji^l \jS> % 

Do not fling yourselves into self-destruction. [2:195] 

Dirar & arrived there on horseback and witnessed great pomp, tents, glittering 
helmets and spears. Flags were fluttering like the wings of birds. Warden was 
examining the Muslims when suddenly he spotted Dirar & and said to his officers, 


Part 1: Damascus 

"I have spotted a horseman about whom I am almost certain that he is one of their 
exalted chiefs. Who will go to catch him?" 

Thirty youths went in pursuit. When Dirar <& saw them he turned back. They carried 
on chasing, thinking him to be fleeing, but his intention was to separate them from 
their army and then fight them. When they were far enough, he turned his horse and 
flung a small spear at one which instantly killed him. He then attacked a second 
youth and penetrated into their midst like a tiger. They were terrified and began 
fleeing, but he went after them killing them one by one until nineteen had been killed. 
Then as they neared the Roman camp, he turned back and reported to Khalid •& who 
said, "Did I not forbid you from showing off your strength and attacking them?" 

Dirar & : They were chasing me and I feared that Allah would regard my action as 
fleeing. I therefore attacked them solely for His sake and I am sure that that is why 
He helped me. By Allah! Had I not feared your reproach I would not have returned 
until I had attacked every single Roman. O commander, rest assured that their whole 
army will be our booty. 

33) The Battle of Ajnadayn 

Khalid 4&> divided the army into four: right-wing, left-wing, centre and vanguard. 
Sa'id bin 'Amir was put in charge of the left-wing; Nu'man bin Muqrin over the right 
vanguard; Shurahbil * over the left vanguard; Mu'ath bin Jabal •& over the right- 
wing while Yazid bin Abi Sufyan & was given 4,000 cavalry to protect the women 
and children at the back. 

(The commander-in-charge would take the centre — translator 's note) 

Thereafter, he went to address the women amongst whom were those whose 
bravery was the talk of the 'Arabs such as 'Afirah bint 'Affar al-Himyariyah, Umm 
Aban bint 'Utbah bin Rabi'ah who had just married and whose hands were still red 
with myrtle and head scented with perfume, Khawlah bint al-Azwar, MazrtVah bint 
'Amluq, Salama bint Zari' bin 'Urwah, Layna bint Suwar, Salama bint Nu'man and 

Khalid & : O daughters of Tubba', 'Amaliqah and the chiefs of the Persian kings, 
you have achieved such feats which have made Allah and all the Muslims pleased 
with you, whose mention will keep your memories fresh, which have opened the 
gates of Paradise for you and have burnt your enemies. I am confident that if any 
Romans come here, you will kill them and if any Muslim deserts, you will have pegs 



ready (to chase him back) and show him his children and say to him, "How can you 
abandon them?" It will be your job to continue encouraging the men to fight. 

'Afirah : O commander, by Allah! We will be more pleased if you put us in front to 
fight the Romans and break their faces. We will kill them until we are all martyred 
and none of us remain. 

Khawlah : O commander, we are not concerned about anyone's attacks. 

Khalid & : May Allah reward you well. 

He then returned to the men, spurring his horse to inspect them and encouraged them 
in the way of Jihad, "O Muslims, help the Din of Allah and He will help you. Remain 
steadfast in battle defending your women, children and Din. Fight whole-heartedly 
for there is no refuge or fort to which you can flee, nor any trench in which you can 
hide. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder and unsheathe your swords but do not attack until I 
order you to. Observe this rule of archery - when you fire it must be as one so some 
target or other will be hit." 

^ • j fr>JLaj *Xl*J 4A)I IjjLSlj l^jajljj \jfiL^sj \^jy^\ 

Endure; be more patient than the enemy; maintain your 
stations; and fear Allah so that you can be successful. [3:200] 

The Muslims were pleased with this speech. They proceeded to string their bows, 
stack their arrows, unsheathe their swords and make general battle preparations. He 
then went to the centre of the army where he stayed for a while with ' Amr bin al-' As, 
'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr, Qays bin Hubayrah, Rafi' bin 'Umayrah, Musayyib bin 
Najiyah, Thul Kali', Rabi'ah bin 'Amir & and others. He then led the army in a slow 
advance towards the enemy. 

Warden advanced with his forces when he saw the Muslims coming. The Romans 
filled the earth in every direction displaying flags and crosses and uttering words of 
disbelief. When the two armies faced each other, an aged Christian soldier wearing 
black armour accompanied by other Christians came out of the Roman ranks and 
approaching the Muslims, said in 'Arabic, "Who is your leader? I wish to speak to 

Khalid <&> came forward. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Priest : You are the leader? 

Khdlid & : These people will accept me as their leader for as long as I am obedient 
to Allah and maintain the Sunnah of His Messenger ft. If I should stray for even a 
moment then I will have no obedience or leadership. 

Priest : That is why you conquer us. If you stray even a little then you will never 
conquer. You have come to such lands which no king has had the audacity to come 
to before, let alone invade. The Persians have tried, but failed. The Jaramiqah made 
great but fruitless sacrifices in their invasion attempts. Now you have come. You may 
have made a few conquests, but conquest is a temporary matter. Our general Warden 
has, out of his great compassion for you sent me with this message, "If you withdraw 
I will give each of your soldiers a turban, a set of clothing and a dinar; you 100 dinar 
and ten sets of clothing and for Abu Bakr 1,000 dinar and 100 sets of clothing." 

The number of our army is that of the number of an army of ants. Do not deceive 
yourself into thinking that you will defeat us like the previous armies, for Heraclius 
has sent unto us a great brave general and experienced priest. 

Khdlid 4b : By Allah! We cannot return unless you accept one of three choices: 
firstly, enter our religion, believe as we believe and say as we say. If not, your 
second choice is to pay us Jizyah and your final choice is to fight us. As for your 
numbers being like an army of ants, I say that Allah has promised us victory through 
the tongue of His True Messenger, Muhammad ft, and has also stated this promise 
in His Sacred Book. As for your turbans, clothing and dinar, you will soon see that 
they and in fact your Empire will be in our hands anyway. 

Priest : Very well, I will tell the general. 

He then went and told Warden who said, "Does he foresee the same fate befalling us 
as befell those who fought them before? With our every delay their ambitions upon 
the Empire and spirits increase. Caesar has sent against them the great patricians and 
now the only delay is battle. Then we will abandon them trembling in blood and 
dirt." He then gave orders for military manoeuvres putting infantry carrying small 
spears and bows in front of the cavalry. 

Mu'ath bin Jabal & saw this and called out, "O Muslims, paradise is ready. The 
Gates of Hell are shut. The virgin damsels are adorned and waiting for you. Receive 
tidings of eternal life." 


Part 1: Damascus 

'Inan bin 'Awf 4> narrates: 

I was keeping count of each footman and horseman Dirar was killing until the total 
reached thirty. 

Zharif bin Tariq al-Yarbu'i narrates: 

He wreaked absolute havoc. His bravery and manliness really stunned them. He then 
removed his helmet and flung it away saying, "O Romans, I am Dirar bin al-Azwar. 
Yesterday I was soft with you, today I am your enemy. I am he who killed Hamran, 
son of Warden. Whoever denies Allah will find me to be like an incurable disease, I 
shall destroy him at any time, in any place." 

The soldiers recognised him and began fleeing hurriedly with him in hot pursuit. 
Then when the Romans came against him, he turned back. Warden asked, "Who is 
this bedouin?" They said, "That is the same bedouin who fights bare-chested, 
sometimes with a spear, sometimes without." He took in a cold breath and said, "He 
is the one who decreased my family and killed my son. I say truly from the bottom 
of my heart that whoever takes revenge from him will get whatever he desires." A 
warrior of Arahiyah quickly volunteered. 

The narrator says, "That was the governor of Tiberias." 

35) Dirar & and Steven duel 

Hilal bin Murrah narrates: 

I was in the right-wing, with Romanus, governor of Busra, at my left . He said to me, 
"I do not know his name, but I can tell you that he is a match for Dirar." That man 
then said to Warden, "I will take revenge on your behalf," and rode off. The two 
opponents fought each other for more than three hours, both displaying great valour. 
Dirar 4&> eventually managed to pierce his armour with his spear and kill him, flinging 
him face-down. Warden then said, "He also failed to bring him, and even if he had 
brought him and I saw him with my own eyes then I would deny my own sight for 
certainly no human has the power to fight a devil. No, there is none besides me to 
fight this ugly thing." With these words, he dismounted his Turkish horse, put on 
armour and then a second pearl-encrusted coat of armour and a crown to awe Dirar 
4b. He mounted an 'Arab horse and was about to depart when Steven, governor of 
'Amman came, kissed the stirrup and said, "I am ready to take revenge on your 



- » ■f^tf'f * 

Verily Allah has brought from the believers their lives and 

wealth in exchange for Paradise, They fight in the Path of 

Allah. [9:111] 

"May Allah bless your attack." 

Khdlid & : O Mu'ath, be patient until I give some instructions. O Muslims, stand 
shoulder to shoulder and remember that the enemy is double our number. Stretch the 
fighting until the time of Salatul 'Asr because that is the time in which our Prophet 
Muhammad S obtained victory over his enemies. 

Beware of deserting for Allah is watching you at all times. When you attack, then 
may your attack be with Allah's blessing. 

34) Dirar's <& valour 

When the two armies faced each other, the Armenians started firing arrows, killing 
and wounding several Muslims, but they could not retaliate because of Khalid's &> 
instructions. Dirar & said, "What are we waiting for? Allah is watching us and 
showering us with His Light. Let the enemy not think that we are scared, cowardly 
or lax. Order the assault or else send some youth to engage them until you order the 

Khdlid 4& : Dirar, you are the man for this job too. 

Dirar &> : By Allah! I would like nothing more than that. 

He donned Paulus's armour and shut the face-guard. He also covered his horse with 
Peter's horse-cover and disguised himself as a Roman before heading in their 
direction. He managed to penetrate right into their ranks before attacking them with 
his small spear. The Romans started firing arrows and throwing stones at him, but not 
one hit Allah's slave, who continued ripping their ranks apart until he had slain 
twenty footmen and twenty horsemen. 



behalf against this wretch. Will you give me your daughter's hand in marriage if I kill 
or capture him?" 

Warden : Most certainly, and I make the chiefs of Syria and Imperial officials my 
witnesses to this. Most probably, you do not need any more reliable witnesses? 

Steven went out like a blazing fire to attack Dirar 4&>, saying, "O wretch! Take that 
which you cannot resist." 

Dirar & did not understand a word of his Greek language but prepared to attack back. 
Steven was wearing a gold cross tied to a silver chain. When Dirar <& saw him 
kissing it, he realised that he was seeking help from it, so he said, "If you seek help 
from that cross against me, then I seek help from that Being who answers du'a and 
comes close to he who calls out unto Him," and then attacked. The two exhibited 
such fighting skills which astounded everyone until Khalid & shouted out, "O Ibn al- 
Azwar! What is this sluggishness and negligence? Why are you delaying when Hell 
is waiting for your opponent and Allah is watching you? Avoid cowardice and attack 
like a man." 

Dirar & began shaking with enthusiasm in his saddle and renewed his attack. 

The Romans were cheering Steven on while the two combatants were engrossed in 
the duel until the sun reached its peak and showered its fiery rays. The men began 
sweating and even their horses began sweating to their tails. Steven then made signs 
that they should dismount and fight on foot. Dirar •$>. was about to comply when he 
saw Steven's slave bringing his master an unmounted fresh horse, so he said to his 
horse, "Remain strong under me for a little while longer or else I will go and 
complain about you in front of the grave of Rasulullah S." 

These words made the horse neigh and stamp the ground with its foreleg. 

Dirar <& headed towards the slave and killed him with his spear. He mounted the new 
horse, sending his own back to the Muslims and returned to Steven. This scene 
convinced the Roman that his death was imminent. Dirar 4» perceived these thoughts 
from his expression and was about to attack when he saw a squadron of horsemen 
approaching. When Warden had seen Steven's predicament he said to his men, "This 
devil is really irritating me. If I do not kill him today, I will be presenting myself for 
destruction. Now I will go and fight him even if the other leaders consider it a 
disgrace, but I do not care." 

Ten armoured men followed him wearing leg-armour and side covers and carrying 
steel-maces. Steven was fighting hopelessly, but when he saw Warden coming 


Part 1: Damascus 

wearing a crown and armour, followed by the ten, his hopes rose. His spirits returned 
and so he shouted, "Prepare for combat!" 

Dirar «fe however ignored his words and was not frightened at the new arrivals but 
got ready to fight them. 

When Khalid 4b saw the crown he said, "Kings wear crowns. No doubt that he is in 
charge and is targeting our man, so let us go and help our man. Ten of you are 
needed to equal them." 

He selected ten men and went off to the battlefield. 

In the meantime, the Romans had reached Dirar 4i> who bravely managed to hold 
them off until Khalid 4b and his ten arrived and shouted, "O Dirar, glad-tidings of 
Allah's help. Do not fear the Disbelievers." 

Dirar 4b : Is not Allah's help (always) near? 

The Muslims encircled the Romans and then each Muslim targeted one Christian 
with Khalid 4b shouting at Warden,"Is there any challenger?" 

Dirar 4b continued fighting Steven who was in a bad state, with his side paralysed 
and hands shaking. The sight of Khalid 4b made him senseless and turned his new- 
found joy into sorrow. He started looking around in all directions (for an escape) but 
his horse was completely immobile. Dirar 4b understood his situation and launched 
another attack. Steven jumped off his horse to escape the claws of death and ran. 
Dirar * jumped down and ran after him. When he was close enough, he threw down 
his spear and wrestled him. The two were grabbing each other's faces and despite 
Steven being built like a solid rock and Dirar 4b being thin and frail, Allah 
strengthened His slave until he managed to grab his belt near his navel, lift him up 
and then fling him down. Steven began shrieking, pleading for Warden to help him 
and said in Greek, "O commander! Save me from this situation in which I am 

Warden shouted back, "O wretch! And who is going to save me from these beasts?" 

These shouts only encouraged Khalid 4b against Warden and Dirar 4b against Steven. 
Both armies were watching them, with the Romans shouting and lamenting and the 
Muslims shouting, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!" Dirar 4b managed to defeat 
Steven and sit on his chest. The defeated Roman was murmuring like a camel. 

The two Romans were unable to help each other. Dirar 4b then thrust his sword into 
Steven's belly and began slitting him upwards. Steven shrieked so loudly in terror 



that his cries reached the skies and both armies. The Romans ran to rescue him. 
Seeing this, Dirar 4fe thought that to remain would mean being needlessly crushed to 
death by the Roman horses, so proclaiming "Allahu Akbar!", he hacked off Steven's 
head. The blood which then gushed out completely covered him as he again shouted, 
"Allahu Akbar!" The Muslims then came charging shouting, "Allahu Akbar!" 

Mu'ath bin Jabal & attacked the right-wing and Sa'id bin 'Amir went for the left. 
The Armenians and Christian 'Arabs fired such a shower of arrows which hid the 
sun, so Sa'id bin Zayd bin 'Amir bin Nufayl 4® called out, "O people, remember your 
death. Do not make Hell compulsory upon you by fleeing in front of Allah. O 
defenders of this Din! O readers of the Quran, persevere!" 

These words filled them with resolution and encouragement. 

The two armies fought until the time of Salatul Asr and then separated with heavy 
losses on both sides, but with Roman losses greater. The Muslim martyrs on the first 
day were: Salamah bin Hisham al-Makhzumi, Nu'man al-'Adawi, Hisham bin al- 
'As at-Taymi, Habban bin Sufyan, 'Abdullah bin 'Amr ad-Dawsi, Tharr bin 'Awf an- 
Namiri, Ra'b bin Rahin al-Khazraji, Qadim bin Miqdam az-Zuhri, Thul Yassar bin 
Khazrajah at-Tamimi, Hizam bin Salim al-Ghanawi, Sa'id bin al-'As Abi Layla al- 
Kilabi, Hadim bin Bashir as-Saksaki, Umayyah bin Habib bin Yassar bin Ahad bin 
' Abdillah bin ' Abdidar, Murhif bin Wathiq al-Barbuji, Mahalli bin Hanzhalah ath- 
Thaqafi, 'Adi bin Yassar al-Asadi, Malik bin Nu'man at-Tai, Salim bin Talhah al- 
Ghiffari and twelve commoners (non-Sahabah? - translator 's note) whose names I 
(al-Waqidi) do not know. 

The Romans lost about 3,000 men including ten governors: 1) Steven, governor of 
'Amman province; 2) Marqash, son of Labna, governor of Damin, Dayr al-Harb and 
Nawa; 3) Damdar, son of Qala, governor of Jawlan, that region which included the 
Cave of the Seven Sleepers; 4) Levi, son of Hana, governor of Black Mountain and 
'Amilah; 5) Mithar'un, son of Remus, governor of Ghazzah; 6) Naja, son of 'Abdul 
Masih, governor of Halhul; 7) Jarqiyas, son of Jarwan, prince of Yanawarmalah; 8) 
Maryunus, governor of Balqa; 9) Kurak, viceroy of Nabalus and 10) an unknown 
prince of al-'Awasim. 

When Warden returned to his camp, filled with terror at the Muslims, he summoned 
his officers for consultation. 

Warden : O upholders of the Faith of Christ, how do you assess the 'Arabs? I see 
them as a conquering nation, unconquerable. Their swords are sharp and cutting 
while yours are blunt. Their horses are energetic and enduring while yours just pant. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Their arms are hard and yours sluggish. In addition they are more obedient to their 
Lord than you are and have truer faith. Through your oppression, sinning and 
conspiring we have become disgraceful. I am fully convinced that if you stay like 
that then all this wealth and power will depart from you. It is therefore necessary that 
you wash the rust from your hearts, confess your sins with a true heart and turn in 
repentance to God. If you do this, then victory will be at your feet or else you will be 
destroyed, for God has inflicted us with a nation who up until now had no 
importance, about whom we never bothered or even thought about because they are 
hungry and naked slaves and shepherds. They have fled from the drought and 
hardships of al-Hijaz and come to you. Here they are now enjoying the luxuries and 
fruit of your cities. Instead of barley and grain-bread, they now eat wheat-bread. 
Instead of vinegar and date- water they now partake of honey, butter-oil, fresh butter, 
figs, grapes and rare exotic things which have all fallen into their hands. To crown it 
all, they have taken your women, mothers and family. What I cannot understand is 
how you are tolerating this disgrace and disaster? 

Not a single Roman remained who did not weep aloud and was not filled with regret. 
With anger overfilling they said, "We will fight until the last breath and remain firm 
until the last man. The 'Arabs can never be so brave. We will kill them with our 
swords, pierce them with our spears and fire them into pieces of chaff with our 
arrows. That which you have mentioned will not be." 

36) The conspiracy 

Warden was delighted with this answer and said to the patricians, "You have heard 
what the army has answered." 

One of them replied, "O Warden, place no reliance on the words of commoners. 
Understand that you have become entangled with such a people against whom no 
success is possible. Have you not seen with your own eyes how a single one of them 
is prepared to take on a whole army, is not impressed by numbers and does not return 
until he has killed several of us? They firmly believe what their Prophet told them - 
that if they kill one of us he goes to Hell but if we kill one of them he goes to 
Paradise. For such people life and death are equal. They have killed many of us but 
we have killed only a few of them. Against such people I see no hope for you unless 
through some scheme you can reach their leader and kill him, for then they will be 
defeated and flee. However, to achieve that, a plan is needed." 

Warden : What kind of scheme will work? These are people who specialise in 



Patrician : Call him to have a dialogue, then when he is alone grab his throat and call 
out to men whom you had arranged to lay in ambush. 

Warden : I can never reach him because firstly, he is a powerful, stern warrior; 
secondly, I cannot (bring myself to) speak to him; (thirdly), I will never be able to 
catch him. 

Patrician : Do not worry, I will tell you of a plan which if you implement you will 
reach him without harm. Hide ten top warriors and then call him for talks. Sit with 
him near the ambush. Engross him in dialogue until he is completely at ease with 
you, then attack him. Call the others to help finish him off and then you will be 
relieved of his troubles. His men will automatically scatter until not even two will be 
seen together. 

Warden was most delighted with this scheme and said, "Let us accomplish this work 
before morning ends." 

He called a Christian Syrian from Hims called David and said, "I know you to be an 
extremely eloquent orator who is capable of proving the way of salvation and 
disproving the enemy. I want you to go to the 'Arabs and ask them to put off the 
battle until tomorrow. In addition, their commander should come to us at the crack of 
dawn so that I can personally negotiate peace with him. Possibly we can achieve 
peace, whatever money they want we will give them." 

David : Alas, Caesar has sent you to fight the 'Arabs, but you make peace with them. 
The world will brand you as a frightened coward. Never until Judgement Day will I 
enter into peace negotiations with them, for then Caesar will execute me. 

Warden : No, shame on you! This is my plan to get their commander so that I can kill 
him, resulting in their dispersion and massacre. 

Then he explained the whole conspiracy to him. 

David : O wrongdoer, conspiracy always ends in humiliation. It is better that you 
fight like a man with your army and abandon this scheme. 

Warden (angry) : I am not asking for your opinion. I am ordering you to give my 
message. Do not oppose me. 

David : Very well. 

He left still opposing the plot in his heart and said to himself, "He speaks as if he 
wants to join his dead son." He paused near the Muslim camp and shouted, "O 


Part 1: Damascus 

'Arabs, has there not been enough bloodshed and killing? God will certainly 
question you about this. We should therefore come to an agreement and reach peace. 
Let your commander or his representative come out to speak to me." 

37) David and Khalid's 4f> dialogue 

David had hardly finished speaking when the armoured Khalid <& flashed out riding 
a splendid horse with his spear pointed between the horse's ears. The old Christian 
exclaimed, "O 'Arab, wait, be soft, I have not come for war. I am not even a soldier. 
I carry neither sword, nor spear. I am an envoy who has come to give you a message. 
So please put down your spear so that I can talk to you." 

Khalid 4t put his spear in the saddlebow and approached David to say, "Do your job 
and give your message, but be honest and upright, for the truthful man stands at the 
gates of goodness while the liar falls into the pit of misguidance and is destroyed." 

David : O 'Arab, you have spoken the truth. I am here because my commander 
dislikes bloodshed and does not wish to fight you good gentlemen and is deeply 
grieved at the deaths both sides have suffered. He therefore wishes to offer you a gift. 
You should shut the gates of bloodshed. You and your honourable companions 
should sign a treaty to the effect that you will not fight us, that you will not harbour 
any intentions against our cities and lands and no aggression will take place against 
our forts. If you do this, then we will take your word as reliable and will be pleased 
with your actions. He also desires that you stop all fighting for the rest of the day and 
then meet him alone first thing tomorrow morning so that the two of you can discuss 
the terms of the treaty. In this way, if God wills, some good might be achieved and 
the bloodshed stopped. 

Khalid & thought for a while before replying, "If his words and reason for sending 
you harbour some kind of plot and scheme, then know that scheming is but a toy in 
my right hand - perhaps no-one has ever been born to match me in scheming. He 
speaks such matters which will take him to death's door. His treachery and scheming . 
will lead to destruction and humiliation for him and his army. However, if he is 
sincere then, besides accepting Islam or paying Jizyah, there is no other peaceful 
solution. As to his offer of money, I have no desire for it, except in the mentioned 
manner of Jizyah collectable at the beginning of each year." 

David disliked these words but said, "It will be as you want, but when the two of you 
sit together a settlement will definitely be reached. In any case, permit me to leave 



KMlid's & words scared David so he said to himself, "The 'Arab speaks the truth. 
Warden will be killed and then it will be our turn. It is better that I tell him the truth 
and seek amnesty for myself and my children." 

He turned to Khalid # again and said, "O 'Arab brother, I have forgotten to tell you 
one thing which my master told me." 

^a/id*: Whatisit? 

David : Be alert and protect your life and property because Warden has conspired 
against you. 

Then after telling him all the details, he said, "I ask your protection for myself and 
my family." 

Khalid 4*> '■ If you do not spy on us or betray us in anyway then your wealth, family 
and children are protected. 

David : If I intended treachery then why should I have told you the whole story? 

Khalid & : Which place has been selected for the ten Romans to hide in? 

David : On the right-hand side of the army near the sand-hill. 

He then took leave and left. Upon reaching Warden, he told him Khalid's 4» reply. 
Warden was pleased and said, "I am convinced that the Cross will grant me victory." 

He then summoned ten warriors and ordered them to go on foot and hide in ambush. 

In the meantime, Khalid 4» met Abu 'Ubaydah <& on his way back. When Abu 
'Ubaydah 4k saw him laughing, he asked, "O Abu Sulayman, may Allah keep you 
smiling. What is the matter?" 

Khalid 4* told him the whole story. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4g> : So what do you intend? 

Khalid * : I am going alone. 

Abu 'Ubaydah •& : O Abu Sulayman, I take oath that you are enough for them, but 
Allah has ordered one not to present oneself for destruction. Instead He has 


Part 1: Damascus 

11'- ' <' " ** \ '»Ti tf y \\ ^ f' 

^4«J mafce reacfy against them all you can of power and steeds 
of war to terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy. [8:60] 

The enemy has readied ten men against you, so they total eleven. I will have no peace 
about this accursed man unless you too send ten men to hide near their ambush place, 
for without doubt the informer has shown you the place. 

Khalid * : Yes, he did. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc : So? Order ten soldiers to lay in ambush nearby. Then when the 
accursed calls his men, you call yours. If Allah wills they will be sufficient. At the 
same time we will be waiting on our horses. Once you have disposed of Allah's 
enemy we will attack the army. We hope that Allah will grant us victory. 

Khalid 4& : Very well, I can never oppose you. 

He then summoned the following ten: 1) Rafi' bin 'Umayrah at-Tai; 2) Musayyib bin 
Najiyah al-Fazari; 3) Mu'ath bin Jabal; 4) Dirar bin al-Azwar; 5) Sa'id bin Zayd bin 
'Amr bin Nufayl al-' Adawi; 6) Sa'id bin 'Amir bin Jurayh; 7) Aban bin 'Uthman bin 
Sa'id; 8) Qays bin Hubayrah; 9) Zufar bin Sa'id al-Bayadi and 10) 'Adi bin Hatim 
at-Tai &- 

He told them of the Roman plot and said, "Go and hide in the low ground on the 
right-hand side of the hill. When I call out come and take on one Roman each, but 
leave Allah's enemy, Warden, for me. If Allah wills, I will be enough for him." 

Dirar * : This is a delicate matter which might get out of hand. These people might 
prevent Warden from fighting and attack you all together and Allah forbid, harm you. 
It is better that we go now to their ambush place and if we find them sleeping, we 
can finish them off before morning without fighting. We will then hide in their place 
until morning when you meet Warden and then come out. 

Khalid * {laughing) : If this is possible then do it. Take these men over whom I 
appoint you commander and place your trust in Allah that He will fulfil your desires. 
If you are successful then it will be a cause for rejoicing and a good sign. 



Dirar 4^ : I have strong hope of getting them. 

38) Fruits of treachery 

They left the camp with swords drawn, bidding the Muslims salam and making du'a. 
Their departure was when a quarter of the night had passed. Dirar 4> walked in front 
reciting this poem: 

In the darkness even the Jinn are afraid of me 

In this work there is nothing new to me. 

Regrets to them who deceive us in ambush they are laying 

Whereas we are the very roots of planning and scheming. 

When it comes to pleasing his Master 

A brave man does not fear or falter. 

When they approached the hill, Dirar & ordered them to halt and said, "Wait here 
until I bring back news of the Romans." He disrobed and went slowly under the 
cover of the mountain and sand-hill with sword in hand. When he reached the 
Romans, he found them exhausted from the battle and thus all were sleeping and 
were not expecting an attack. He wanted to make their sleep more permanent but 
then thought, "Perhaps they will awaken each other during the chaos." 

So he returned to his men and said, "Glad tidings! That which you hoped for is here 
and that which you feared is not. Unsheathe your swords and when you reach them 
kill them in any way you please. Each one will select one Roman and then everyone 
must kill his victim simultaneously. Also, avoid any noise as far as possible." 

They replied, "Very well," took off their armour, unsheathed their swords and 
followed Dirar 4b. 

When they reached the enemy they readied their weapons, spread out and stood one 
each by each Roman. They raised their swords and then instead of awakening them, 
minced their necks, faces and stomachs. After the Muslims took all their weapons 
and goods, Dirar 4b said, "Congratulations! This is the first victory and if Allah wills 
more will follow." 

The ten spent the whole night praising and thanking Allah until the sky began 
brightening with dawn. They then undressed and put on the Romans' clothing and 
covered their faces with cloth, lest Warden should send someone who would 


Part 1: Damascus 

discover them and spoil the whole plan. They flung the corpses into a hole and then 
waited, weapons at hand. 

39) Khalid <fc and Warden's dialogue 

After performing Salatul Fajr, Khalid &> organised the army for battle. He dressed in 
reddish clothing and put on a yellow turban. The Romans too went into battle 
formation and raised their crosses aloft. A horseman emerged from their centre ranks 
and shouted, "O Arabs, what has happened to the agreement which we agreed to 
yesterday? Have you broken it?" 

Khalid <& stepped forward and said, "We are not traitors." 

Roman : Warden wishes you to come to him and engage in dialogue so that it can be 
seen what matters you agree on. 

Khalid 4fc : Go and tell him that I am coming without delay or fear. 

The messenger returned to tell Allah's enemy, who donned highly decorated armour, 
throat-guard, helmet and crown and then departed. When Khalid * saw him with all 
this splendour, he said, "If Allah wills, then all that will be booty for the Muslims." 

He then said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4», "Dirar has probably reached the enemy. When you 
see me attack, then order the army to attack." 

He then bade the Muslims salam and left reciting this poem: 

O Allah, I hand my matter over to You 

If death is close then forgive me. 

Guide me so that good works I do 

If I am deficient then forgive me. 

Polytheism with my sword I will cut 

Until it is completely destroyed with my caress. 

O Rabb of all the worlds! I have none but 

You to call unto in the time of distress. 



Naqid bin 'Alqamah ar-Raini narrates: 

I was in the centre of the army with 'Ayyad bin Ghanam when I heard Khalid * 
reciting poetry. When Allah's enemy, Warden, saw him and his clothing he was 
surprised and thought that he was coming to him. With this thought in mind, he went 
to the hill and dismounted his mule when he neared Khalid * who also dismounted 
his horse. They sat near the hill. Warden held his sword out of fear of Khalid * but 
Khalid & went to sit right in front of him. 

Khalid 4fr : Say whatever you want to, but speak the truth. Understand well that you 
are sitting in front of a man who is not bothered with the schemes and treachery of 
others for he is himself a rock of the fort of planning. In any case, say what you have 

Warden : O Khalid, the matter is between the two of us. Say what you want now and 
refrain from bloodshed. Remember that you will be accountable before God for all 
your actions and this senseless bloodshed. If it is the world that you desire and wealth 
that you need, we are generously prepared to give you charity and will not be 
miserly because we consider you to be the weakest of nations, suffering from drought 
and dying from starvation. Now say what is acceptable to you and be satisfied with 
what little we will give you. 

Khalid 4» : O Christian dog, Allah has made us independant of your charity and has 
permitted (the capture of) your wealth. We will divide your wealth amongst ourselves 
and (enslave) your wives and children. Of course if you recite, "There is no deity but 
Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" you will become our brothers. If 
you refuse then you will have to pay Jiizyah in a state of humiliation. If this is also 
not acceptable then the sword is the best decider between us. Allah will grant 
victory to whomsoever He chooses. You have heard our offer with regard to you, if 
you reject this then we can fight, and by Allah, we certainly love to fight. As for you 
regarding us as weaker than you - by Allah, we regard you as equal to dogs. One 
thousand of you are weak against one of us. What you have mentioned are not the 
terms of surrender which those before you offered to us. If you regard me as a soft 
plump target and entertain false hopes because you see me far from my people, then 
do what you want. If Allah wills I will be enough for you. 

40) Death of Warden 

Warden, relying on his men laying in ambush, jumped up without drawing his sword 
and grabbed Khalid's •&> two sides. Khalid «$. wrestled him and hit him on the side. 


Part 1: Damascus 

In the scuffle that ensued, Warden called out to his men, "Run quickly! Through the 
blessings of the Cross, I have captured the 'Arab commander." 

He had hardly finished his words when the Sahabah & who were hiding behind the 
hill emerged with drawn swords, swooping out like eagles flinging off their (own) 
armour and the (Roman) clothing they were wearing, trying to reach them quickly. 
Right in front was the champion of Islam, Dirar &, roaring like a lion. He was naked 
except for his loincloth and sword in hand . 

Warden saw them coming, thinking them to be his men until he saw Dirar 4& leaping 
like a wolf towards him and waving his sword. He started shaking and his arm 
became paralysed with fear. He said to Khalid 4fe, "I beg you in the name of your God 
to kill me yourself. Do not let this devil whose appearance I hate kill me." 

Khalid •$> : Here is your killer. 

Dirar & arrived roaring like a lion, waving his sword and reciting this poem: 

/ will very soon unite Warden with his boy 

The worshippers of idols will I destroy. 

To please my Master this act I will do 

And have my sin forgiven through its virtue. 

He approached him and said, "O enemy of Allah! What has happened to your scheme 
against the Sahabah of Rasulullah H?" He then pointed the sword at him, but Khalid 
«£> said, "O Dirar, wait a little. Do not hasten until I order you to." 

By this time, the other Sahabah & arrived, each waving his sword and wanting to kill 
him, but Khalid & ordered, "Stay in your places. Leave him until I order otherwise." 

Seeing this terrifying spectacle, Warden was so overwhelmed that he fell down 
begging for mercy by indicating with his finger. 

Khalid &> : Safety is only given to such a person who is deserving, whereas you are 
such a person who violated the truce and harboured treachery in your heart but: 


Allah is the best of planners. [3:54] 



Hearing these words, Dirar 4s= felt that he had been given enough respite and hacked 
at his shoulder and removing his crown said, "He who hastens for something is most 
entitled to it." 

They then hacked him to pieces, reddening their swords and included his robes in the 

Khdlid *fe : I fear that since the Romans are awaiting their leader they might come 
and attack you suddenly. It is therefore better that he be beheaded right away. Then 
dress in the Roman's gear and head towards the enemy. When you near them, shout, 
"Allahu Akbar!" When the Muslims hear, they will come and attack. 

They went towards the enemy with Khalid *& and Dirar 4» in front. Khalid 4» was 
carrying Warden's head on the end of his sword. When they turned and became 
visible after being covered by the hill, the Romans thought that they were Romans 
who were carrying Khalid's 4& head. They began cheering, clapping and displaying 
crosses out of joy and filling the skies with their noise. 

This scene confused the Muslims into thinking that disaster had befallen Khalid &. 
Some started making du'a, some became terrified, some started weeping and others 
started screaming. When Khalid 4& approached the enemy ranks, he held Warden's 
head aloft and shouted, "O enemies of Allah, this is your general's head and I am 
Khalid bin al-Walid, a Companion of the Messenger of Allah!" 

He then flung the head and shouting "Allahu Akbar!", attacked them. Then Dirar <&> 
and the others followed, also reciting "Allahu Akbar!" 

When Abu 'Ubaydah <& saw this he ordered the troops, "O defenders of the Din, 

He charged, followed by the entire army. When the Romans saw what had happened 
to their leader, they started fleeing, but the Muslims surrounded them and killed 
them. There was no rock, no stone, nothing which could hide them; wherever they 
went they tasted iron. From midday, the swords found no rest. The Romans scattered 
like mad camels. 

'Amir bin at-Tufayl ad-Dawsi <& narrates: 

I was in the army of Abu 'Ubaydah <&. mounted on a horse of Damascus. We pursued 
the Christians until we reached a rough road where we saw a dust-cloud rising from 
a distance. We thought that it was reinforcements sent by Heraclius so we went on 


Part 1: Damascus 

alert, but when they came near we discovered them to be an army sent by Abu Bakr 
4» to help us. Since the Romans were fleeing in the same direction as the Muslim 
army was coming from, they were killed and their wealth included in the booty. 

Ath-Thaqafi narrates that Yunus bin 'Abdil A'la narrated in al-Masjid al- 

The army which came to reinforce the Muslims at Ajnadayn when the Christians 
were defeated was under the command of 'Amr bin al-'As bin Wail as-Sahmi. They 
did not arrive until the day Rome was defeated. 

It is narrated that more than 50,000 of the 90,000 Romans at Ajnadayn were killed - 
any smaller amount is impossible. In the confusion of the battle, some of them killed 
each other while the scattered survivors fled to Caesarea and Damascus. The 
Muslims gained more booty than they had ever got in any previous battle. The silver 
and gold crosses alone were uncountable. Khalid 4fe gathered all the booty including 
Warden's crown and said, "I am not giving you a grain's worth now, but will 
distribute it after the conquest of Damascus if Allah wills." j 

The battle of Ajnadayn took place on Saturday 6 Jumada al-Ula 13 Hijri, 23 days 
before Abu Bakr's 4» demise. 

(Abu Bakr •$> reads Khalid 's & letter one month later, so either a wrong date is given 
or 23 days is wrong - translator 's note) 

41) Khalid's & letter to Abu Bakr & 

After the aforementioned events, Khalid 4» wrote the following letter to Abu Bakr - 
to inform him of the victory: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : Khalid bin al- Walid 

To : The Khalifah of Rasululldh M 

As-Salamu 'Alaykum 

I praise Allah besides whom there is no other deity and send 
salutations on Rasululldh. 



I praise and thank Allah that the Muslims are well and the 
Disbelievers destroyed. The sparks of their fire have been cooled 
and they have been utterly defeated. I confronted the Roman 
forces at the Field of Ajnddayn where Warden, the governor of 
Hims, was. Despite them making great preparations; coming out 
with great pomp and splendour; raising their crosses; and 
taking oaths upon their religion that they would never flee under 
any condition, we attacked them relying on Allah. Allah knew 
what was in our hearts and granted us patience, help and 
victory. Defeat encircled them and we slew them in everyplace, 
in every ditch, in every field. When we counted their dead we 
found 50,000. From the Muslims, 575 were martyred of which 
20-25 were Ansdr and Himy arts, 30 from Makkah and the rest 
from other peoples. I make du 'a that Allah includes them all in 
the ranks of the martyrs. 

I have written this letter on Thursday 2 Jumddd al-Ukhrd. We 
are now heading for Damascus so make du 'a that Allah grants 
us victory. Convey my saldm to all the Muslims. Was-saldmu 

He gave the letter to 'Abdurahman bin Humayd saying, "Take it to al-Madinah," 
while he himself headed for Damascus. 

Abu Bakr °& would leave al-Madinah daily after Salatul Fajr for news on Syria. One 
day as he was leaving al-Madinah as was his habit, Ibn Humayd was seen coming. 
The Sahabah 4> hurriedly asked, "From where are you coming?" 

Ibn Humayd : From Syria - Allah has granted the Muslims victory. 

Abu Bakr 4s> immediately fell into prostration out of thanks. Ibn Humayd went to him 
and said, "O Khalifah of Rasulullah iH, lift your head for Allah has comforted you by 
granting the Muslims victory." 

He lifted his head and softly went through the letter and then after absorbing it, read 
it out to the others. This news spread like lightning throughout al-Madinah. The 
people eagerly ran to hear it, so he read out the letter before everyone once again. 


Part 1: Damascus 

When the people of Makkah, Hijaz and Yaman heard of the Muslim victories and 
booty gained from the Romans, they too yearned to go to Syria to earn (religious) 
reward. Thus the inhabitants, chiefs and prominent men of Makkah went to al- 
Madinah under the leadership of Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb & and Ghaydaq bin 
Hisham to seek permission from Abu Bakr * to go to Syria. 'Umar 4» did not 
consider this appropriate and said to Abu Bakr .#>, "Actually these people bear hatred 
for the Muslims in their hearts, so do not give them permission. Allah's Word is most 
high and theirs is most low. They are still on their Disbelief and wish to extinguish 
Allah's Light but He will complete and perfect it even if they dislike it. Our claim 
and declaration is that besides Allah there is no deity but these people oppose it. 
When Allah honoured our Din and helped implement our Laws, they became 
Muslims out of fear of the sword. Now that they have heard that Allah's army has 
gained victory over the Romans, they have come to us to send them to the enemy so 
that they can equal the First Muslims, that is the Muhajirin and Ansar. I feel that you 
should definitely not permit them to go there. 

Abu Bakr 4e> : I will not oppose you. 

When the people of Makkah heard of this, they gathered and went to Abu Bakr <$> 
who was with a group of Muslims in al-Masjid an-Nabawi. 'Umar * was on his left 
and 'Ali 4&> on his right while the Syrian conquests were being discussed. The 
Quraysh made salam, sat in front of him and consulted each other as to who should 
speak first. Eventually, Abu Sufyan & said to 'Umar &, "O 'Umar, it is true that in 
the Pre-Islamic period there existed enmity between us, but since Allah guided us, 
we have cleaned our hearts with regard to you because Faith wipes out Polytheism. 
You on the other hand still look to the past. Why do you still keep old grudges and 
renewed enmity which will not be wiped away? Can we hope that you will wipe 
away your ill feeling towards us? We know that your rank is higher than ours and that 
you overtake us in Faith and Jihad. We acknowledge your status and do not deny it." 

'Umar & felt ashamed and kept quiet. He started perspiring on his forehead out of 
embarrassment and then said, "By Allah! I did not mean what you understand. I only 
wished to avoid violence and evil. You people still have within you the good manly 
qualities of Pre-Islamic times. You still maintain your greatness through lineage and 

Abu Sufyan 4fe : I make the Khalifah and yourself witness that I dedicate myself to 
the Path of Allah. 

All the chiefs of Makkah made similar statements until 'Umar *fe became pleased and 
Abu Bakr *fe made the following du'a, "O Allah, grant them better than what they 



hope for and desire. Grant them a good reward for what they do. Grant them victory 
over their enemies and do not make their enemies victorious. Indeed You have power 
over everything." 

After a few days, a Yamani army arrived under the command of 'Amr bin 
Ma'dikarab 4& also intending to go to Syria. While they were encamped Malik bin 
al-Ashtar an-Nakha'i 4& arrived with the same intention. He and his family lodged by 
'Ali <&. Malik <$> loved him very much and had participated with him in several 
expeditions during the time of Rasulullah S. Thus these people together with the 
Jurhum tribe formed an army of close to 9,000. 

42) Abu Bakr's & letter to Khalid & 

When the army was prepared, Abu Bakr 4» wrote the following letter: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, the Khalifah of Rasulullah 

To : Khalid bin al-Walid and the other Muslims (with him). 

I praise that Pure Being besides Whom there is no other deity 
and send salutations on His Messenger, Muhammad. I command 
you to fear Allah in all conditions - in open and in secret, to be 
soft with the Muslims, to take only such work from them which 
they have strength to do, to overlook their faults and to consult 
them in every matter. I am overjoyed to hear of the conquests 
Allah has granted you, the help He has granted and the defeat 
He has inflicted upon the enemy. Advance upon your horses, 
conquering the lands of the Disbelievers until you reach the 
Gardens of Syria (Damascus) and Allah grants you its conquest. 
Thereafter advance against Hims and Ma 'rat then Antioch. 

Saldm and Allah 's mercy and blessings be on you and all your 
companions. I am sending to you the warriors of Yaman, the 
lions ofNakha ' and the chiefs ofMakkah. 'Amr bin Ma 'dikarab 


Part 1: Damascus 

and Malik bin al-Ashtar will be of special assistance unto you. 
When you reach the great mountainous city of Antioch and find 
Heraclius Caesar there make peace with him if he offers peace 
and fight him if he wants to fight. Do not cross the mountains 
until you have written to me. I believe that Heraclius 's death is 

% > - _^ * , } *. 
Ojll 2i£jli jj^aJ (Jj 

Every soul shall taste death. [3:185] 


Abu Bakr «fe> then put the letter in an envelope and stamped it with Rasulullah's S 
seal. He then gave it to Ibn Humayd, saying, "You were the messenger from Syria, 
so you take the answer to Syria." 

He took the letter and quickly reached Syria on his camel. 

43) Return to Damascus 

Nafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

Khalid 4» started heading for Damascus as soon as he had sent his letter to Abu Bakr 
•#. When the Damascenes heard of the slaughter of the warriors, they shut the fort 
out of terror. Villagers and townspeople abandoned their districts and took refuge in 
Damascus. The fort was prepared and swords, shields, spears and catapults put on the 
city walls, and flags and crosses implanted. 

By the time Khalid 4& arrived, Damascus was fully fortified. In his army was 'Amr 
bin al-As and Yazid bin Abi Sufyan ,& with 2,000 men each (in another copy 9,000) 
followed by Shurahbil bin Hasanah & and 'Amir bin Rabi'ah 4& bringing 1,000 each 
and then Mu'ath bin Jabal 4s& brought along another 2,000. When the Damascenes 
saw the Muslims coming like the waves of the sea, they felt their defeat to be 



Khalid * encamped at the Monastery, half a mile from Damascus and then 
summoning his generals, said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4&, "You know how these Christians 
betrayed and attacked us when we left. Therefore you should encamp at al-Jabiyah 
Gate with your troops and not give them any respite or treaty of safety lest they again 
do some treachery. Do not abandon your position under any circumstances. Remain 
close to the Gate and constantly send small parties on a rotation basis against them 
so that they have no respite. The long stay here and the closure of the fort should not 
dishearten you, there is no need to hurry. Be patient, victory is always achieved 
through patience. However, never abandon your position and save yourself from 
their treachery." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe : Very well, if Allah wills it will be so. 

So saying, he took a quarter of the army and encamped at al-Jabiyah Gate where, a 
short distance from the gate, a Taifi tent of camel's hair was pitched for him. 

Maslamah bin 'Awf narrates from Salim bin 'Abdillah from Hajjaj al-Ansari: 

I asked my grandfather, Rifa'ah bin 'Asim 4fe, who was with Abu 'Ubaydah 's army 
at Damascus, "Abu 'Ubaydah had a lot of booty captured from Ajnadayn, Busra, 
Shakhurii and Hawran from which there must have been thousands of tents. So why 
was that same camel-hair Taifi tent pitched for him which he first had?" 

He replied, "O my son, that was due to his simplicity and humility so that he would 
not become involved in worldly beauty and love for it. Also, he wished to show the 
Romans that the Muslims were not coming out of love for the world and love of 
territorial expansion, but for Allah's pleasure, desire for the Hereafter and to 
establish Allah's Din." 

"O my son, the condition of the Muslims at that time was such that when they 
camped at any Roman city they would pitch their own old tents separately and pitch 
the (captured Roman) tents some distance away. Therein they would only keep 
horses, weapons, armour, daggers and shields and no-one would go near to them. If 
someone got caught in the rain, he would rather get soaked than take refuge in such 
a tent wherein Allah's name alone was not taken. Our attitude to their weapons was 
such that we would rather wear stringed-up date-pits instead of wearing their 


Part 1: Damascus 

44) The second siege of Damascus 

When Abu 'Ubaydah & reached al-Jabiyah Gate, he ordered an assault. Thereafter 
Khalid 4& called Yazid bin Abi Sufyan * and said to him, "Attack the Small Gate 
with your men, but be protective over their lives. So if anyone comes out against you 
and you find yourselves weak, then inform me and I will immediately come to your 

He then called Shurahbil bin Hasanah 4t> and said to him, "Target the gate which the 
governor, Thomas, is supervising, but be careful because I have heard that he is very 
cunning and daring. Heraclius greatly loves him due to his bravery and, in fact, gave 
him his daughter in marriage. If he attacks, then inform me so that I can help you if 
Allah wills." 

Shurahbil 4» : There is none amongst my troops whom he can dupe. 

Khalid & called 'Amr bin al-'As & next and ordered him, "Camp at Faradis Gate 
and make no movement from there because I have heard that they have gathered 

'Amr •& went there and then Qays bin Hubayrah was called and told, "Go to Fajr (in 
other copies 'Kaysan') Gate." He too went as instructed. 

The Eastern Gate remained shut without any fighting taking place there, so the 
'Arabs called it the 'Peace Gate'. 

After making the above preparations, Khalid * took the remaining troops and 
camped at the Eastern Gate. He called Dirar^ and gave him 2,000 men and said, 
"Patrol all sides of the city. If any difficulty arises or a Roman spy is seen, inform me 
immediately so that I can take appropriate action." 

Dirdr 4fc : It pains my heart to leave battle and remain in waiting. 

Khalid 4^ : Alright. You may engage in battle for as long as possible. 

Dirdr 4fc : If that is the case, then I leave in Allah's name. 

He then left while reciting the following poem until he reached his destination like 
an angry lion: 

O Damascus, a Dirdr has come who will do you great damage, 
With my sword I will turn your necks into wreckage. 



It is sharp and glittering, I will set you all aright, 
And drive you away through Allah 's Word's might. 

(Dirdr literally means great harmer - translator 's note). 

Khalid ■#> remained at the Eastern Gate. When his men launched an attack, the 
Romans vowed, "We will fight to the last man and will not let our women and 
children fall into their hands," and started firing arrows. Both sides fired arrows and 
stones from catapults to such an extent that most of the men on both sides were 

'Abdurahman bin Humayd arrived with Abu Bakr's 4h letter when Khalid 4& and 
Rafi' bin 'Umayrah were engaged in combat at the Eastern Gate. He headed towards 
the Eastern Gate where he handed the letter to Khalid 4& who was very pleased to 
read it and announced to the Muslims the coming of Abu Sufyan 4b, 'Amr bin 
Ma'dikarab az-Zubaydi 4k and their army. The news spread throughout the army. 

The Muslims fought the whole day. Then at night-fall the two parties separated, with 
every Muslim general maintaining his position at his appointed gate. Khalid 4k had 
Abu Bakr's 4» letter read out at each gate causing the Muslims great joy to hear of 
the coming reinforcements. The night was spent in anticipation of the morning's 
battle while each division appointed men to guard their own camp. Dirar 4fe spent the 
whole night patrolling the whole army, in case the enemy should attack. 

The Muslims passed the night raising their voices with the cry of, "Allahu Akbar! 
Allahu Akbar!" While the Romans too were calling out their special words and 
shouting. They hung flags from the city walls, rang bells and burnt such fires that 
turned the night into day. 

45) The Damascenes go to Thomas 

The Damascenes gathered by the city-chiefs and elders and said, "What should we 
do?" Some said, "It is better that we offer the Muslims whatever amount they want 
for peace." Others supported this and said, "Yes, at Ajnadayn they were able to face 
armies that included patricians and the imperial family. Despite the Roman army 
being bigger, they ground them like grain. We do not have greater numbers here nor 
fighting skills, so how can we face them?" Still others opined that Heraclius's son- 
in-law, Thomas, should be asked for his opinion. Whether he decided on surrender or 
fighting, .they would agree. They went and found armed soldiers at Thomas's gate, 
who asked them, "Why have you come?" 


Part 1: Damascus 

Damascenes : We wish to meet Caesar's son-in-law. 

Soldiers : We will request permission inside. 

Permission was granted. They entered and kissed the ground before Thomas and 
remained standing until he permitted them to sit. They were clearly afraid and 

Thomas : You have come on such a dark night. Why? 

Damascenes : O sir, pay some attention to the disaster which afflicts us these days 
and please find some remedy for it. We trust you and rely on you. Either we agree to 
whatever the 'Arabs demand, or you write to Caesar for reinforcements, or you 
yourself should defend us. Failing this, there is no averting our destruction. 

Thomas (laughing) : Shame on you. You are the ones who had encouraged Damascus 
to defiance in the first place. I swear by Caesar's head that I do not even consider the 
Muslims worthy of fighting. They cannot withstand a shower of arrows. If they come 
close to me then I will make their (dead) ancestors meet them and fully avenge my 
people. Be at ease in your city for even if the gates are opened for them, they will not 
have the guts to enter. 

Damascenes : O sir, the Muslims are very fierce and there is more to them than you 
have described. Their smallest and oldest man is capable of taking on ten to 100 men. 
Their leader is so fierce that he cannot be confronted. If you wish to keep us and our 
wealth safe, then either make peace or come with us to fight them. 

Thomas : My people, firstly, you are more than them; secondly, your city is well 
fortified and the fort is closed; thirdly, besides this city you have other cities; and 
fourthly, you have enough weapons, armour and equipment. On the other hand, these 
people are naked and bare-footed. Where do they have so much equipment? 

Damascenes : O sir, they have our equipment and numerous weapons which they 
captured in Palestine and Busra and which they took from us at Bayt Luhya when we 
fought them with Calius and Uriel. Then they looted Paulus and his brother at 
Shakhura. That is besides what they have gained at Ajnadayn. Yes, they have taken 
much wealth and equipment from us but are not concerned about using it. This is 
because their Prophet has said that whoever of them is killed goes to Paradise 
forever and whichever non-Muslim is killed is flung into Hell, so they fearlessly 
charge, bare-chested and bare-footed so as to achieve Paradise according to what he 



Thomas (laughing) : Your simple-mindedness makes them more daring. These ideas 
have set in your minds, so now these subservient slave people have aimed at you. If 
you only fight them with a true heart then you will massacre them. 

Damascenes : O sir, remove this affliction in whatever way you choose, but 
remember that if you do not help us then we will open the gates for them to achieve 

Thomas pondered for some time and concluded that they might act upon their word, 
so he said, "Do not worry. Tomorrow we will go out together to fight them. We will 
pick out their chiefs and kill them and we will kill and drive the enemy away. 
However, in such a heavy battle you will have to fight and be my right hand. If you 
are willing to sacrifice your lives then you will be successful. 

Damascenes : We will be with you, in fact we shall be ahead of you. We will keep 
fighting for as long as one of us remains alive. 

Thomas : Very good. Utter disaster will befall the 'Arabs. 

They thanked him and left, guarding the fort the whole night. They lit fires at the 
towers and gates, awaiting Thomas's orders. 

On the other side, the Sahabah <& were turning towards Allah, reciting "Allahu 
Akbar!" and "La ilaha illallah!" and sending salutations on Rasulullah &. Khalid •&> 
had left the women and children with the booty at the Monastery while Rafi' bin 
'Umayrah stood guard the whole night with the vanguard at the Eastern Gate. 

At dawn, each general led his men in Salatul Fajr and after leading his men in Salatul 
Fajr, Abu 'Ubaydah 4& gave orders for an assault. "Do not lose heart in the battle!" 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4» advised his men, "Whoever makes an effort today will be at ease 
tomorrow. Be cautious in your archery for arrows miss and hit. Do not sit on your 
horses, for the enemies of Allah are in a high place, thus making you easy targets. 
Keep helping each other and remain steadfast against the enemy." They therefore 
advanced on foot, covering themselves with shields, while Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4» 
advanced on the Small Gate, Qays bin Hubayrah on the Kaysan Gate, Rafi' bin 
'Umayrah on the Eastern Gate, Shurahbil & on the Thomas Gate and 'Amr bin al- 
'As as-Sahmi & on the Faradis Gate. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Rifa'ah bin Qays narrates: 

I asked my father, Qays, who was present at the conquest of Damascus, "Did the 
Muslims attack on foot or on horseback on the day you conquered Damascus?" 

He replied, "Besides Dirar's 2,000 horsemen who were patrolling the city borders to 
avoid sudden enemy attacks, all the Muslims went on foot. Whenever he reached a 
gate he would stop and say, "Be patient, be patient against Allah's enemies. 
Tomorrow on the Day of Judgement, you will be resurrected in the shade of Allah's 
mercy. If they come out of the city walls then Allah is quite capable of punishing 
them from above or below. If Allah wills, you will conquer." 

Rifa'ah continues: The two sides engaged each other, the archers fired and the 
Romans fired a shower of arrows and catapulted rocks from the fort but the Muslims 
remained firm. Thomas then came out of the gate bearing his name. He was 
renowned in Damascus as a great worshipper, ascetic, warrior and sage. No greater 
worshipper or ascetic could be found in the cities of the Christians, nor did they 
consider anyone more pious than him. Now he came in a great state, carrying a huge 
cross which he implanted at the tower. All the patricians and important Christians 
surrounded him. Someone else was carrying a Bible, which was also placed by the 
cross. The Christians started shouting, of which some words could be perceived. 
Thomas put his hand on a verse of the Bible and said, "O God, help him who is on 
the truth. Grant us victory and deliver us not unto the enemy. Destroy the wrong- 
doers, You know them well. O God, we seek your help in the name of the Cross and 
through the intercession of Him who was crucified, displayed divine signs and 
miracles, sought Your closeness, is always with You, came to this world and then 
returned and brought us the Gospel from You. Grant victory to the guided ones." 

All the Christians said, "Amen." 

Rifa'ah says: Shurahbil bin Hasanah narrated that to me. At that time he and 
Romanus, the governor of Busra, were at the Thomas Gate. Romanus listened and 
translated into 'Arabic. These words of Disbelief and accusation against 'Isa bin 
Maryam 8¥9 enraged Shurahbil 4» and the Muslims so they asked Allah's protection 
(from such evil words) and advanced to attack. Shurahbil & shouted, "O accursed 
one, you have lied! Tsa sKB is just like Adam SJSl according to Allah. He created him 
from earth, kept him alive and then took him." 

He then attacked. 



46) The attack on Damascus 

The Muslims fought more fiercely than they had ever done before and the accursed 
Thomas also fought fiercely with his men starting a shower of arrows and stones. 
Many Muslims were thus wounded, including Aban bin Sa'id bin al-'As 4» who was 
struck with a poisoned arrow. He extracted the arrow and bound the wound with his 
turban, but the poison had already penetrated his body and he fell face down. His 
comrades picked him up and took him to the army They wanted to remove his 
turban to treat him, but he forbade them saying, "If you remove it, then my life will 
end instantly. By Allah! I have received that which I have been asking Allah for and 
hoping for." They disobeyed him and untied it. They had not yet finished when he 
looked towards the sky, pointed his finger and said, "I testify that there is no deity but 
Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. This is what the Most Gracious 
promised and the Messengers have been truthful, " and instantly his soul departed. 
May Allah have mercy on him. 

He had just married his cousin, Umm Aban bint 'Utbah bin Rabi'ah, at Ajnadayn. 
Her hands and head still had traces of myrtle and perfume of the wedding night. She 
was from a greatly daring family and would herself fight on foot. When she heard of 
her husband's martyrdom, she came stumbling anxious and confused and stood at his 
body. She remained patient in expectation of reward and said nothing besides, "Be 
blessed in what you have received. You have gone to the mercy of the Rabb of all the 
worlds and to the wide-eyed virgin damsels of Paradise. You have gone to that Rabb 
of all the worlds who united us and then separated us. By Allah! Because I long for 
you, I will engage in Jihad to such an extent that I will be united with you. This is 
because neither have I seen you properly and taken comfort in you, and neither have 
you. Allah decided that my desire should not be fulfilled. I have made it forbidden 
upon myself that any man after you should touch me and I dedicate myself to the 
Path of Allah. I am hoping that we shall meet soon." 

It is said that no women was found who was more patient than her. The burial 
preparations were made with Khalid 4» leading the Salatul Janazah and then he was 
buried. His grave is visited up to this day. Umm Aban did not wait at all at the grave, 
but armed herself with his weapons and joined the army without informing Khalid 
*fe. She asked the men, "At which gate was my husband martyred?" 

They replied, "At the Thomas Gate which is named after Heraclius's son-in-law. In 
fact, Thomas killed your husband." 

So she went to ShurahbiPs 4k army and fought fiercely She was very good at archery. 


Part 1: Damascus 

Shurahbil 4t> narrates: 

I was that day at the Thomas Gate and saw someone in front of Thomas who was 
carrying a cross and gesturing to his army. He was shouting, "O God, help the Cross 
and help him who seeks the Cross's protection. O God, manifest his victory and 
increase his prestige." 

I was still looking at him when Umm Aban fired an arrow which hit its target. He 
dropped the cross with its glittering jewels. Every Muslim rushed to pick it up and 
we were showered with stones. Yet the Muslims still rushed ahead, falling over each 
other to be the first to get it. When Allah's enemy, Thomas, saw the Muslims 
rushing in droves at the cross, he felt humiliated and sensed his destruction. He 
thought to himself that Heraclius would certainly discover that he had let the 'Arabs 
get the cross, so he tightened his belt, took his sword and shield and said to his men, 
"Whoever wants to come with me, come, and whoever wants to stay, stay. I am going 
to fight them and drive them off, thus giving my heart peace." 

He then ordered his men to open the gate and rushed forth. When his men saw this 
and realised his bravery, they all followed him and swarmed out like locusts. The 
Muslims were surrounding the cross, but when they saw the Romans charging they 
handed it over to Shurahbil & and split up to take on the enemy in single combat. 
From above the gate and from every direction they were struck with stones and 
arrows, so Shurahbil <&> called out, "O Muslims, fall back to save yourselves from the 
arrows coming from Allah's enemies." 

They fell back until they were safe from the arrows. Thomas came rushing after them 
striking left and right, bellowing like a camel with his warriors all around him. 
Shurahbil 4& called out, "O people, give up your lives to seek Paradise. Please your 
Creator through your actions for He is not pleased with fleeing. Do not flee, but 
attack them and go towards them. May Allah bless you." 

The Muslims launched a vicious attack in which the two parties ended up mixed 
amongst each other, striking with their swords and firing arrows. When the 
Damascenes heard that Thomas had gone out of his gate and that the Great Cross had 
fallen from the bearer's hands, they were absolutely terrified. Thomas began 
searching for it until he found it with Shurahbil «&>. He could not control himself and 
attacked saying, "Hand over the Cross! O motherless one, you have met great 



Shurahbil <$> flung the cross and confronted Thomas. When he saw the cross lying on 
the ground, he and his companions shrieked terrifyingly. When Aban's <& widow saw 
Allah's enemy, Thomas, attacking Shurahbil * she asked, "Who is that?" 

Someone said, "He is Caesar's son-in-law, your husband's killer." 

When she heard that, she attacked fiercely until she got near enough to Thomas to 
shoot an arrow at him. The Romans threatened her, but she never turned to them until 
she had him in her target saying, "In name of Allah and through the blessings of 
Rasulullah S." 

Thomas was reaching out to Shurahbil & when her arrow struck him square in the 
right eye and stuck there. He fled screaming, while she tried to get another shot at 
him. The Romans tried to avoid their misfortune and rushed to her, so a group of 
Muslims ran to defend her. When she was safe, she started firing again, hitting a 
Christian in the chest who fell to the ground. 

The first to flee that day was Thomas, shrieking all the way to the gate due to the 
intense pain caused by the arrow. Shurahbil 4» called out, "Be destroyed! Catch the 
Roman dog. Attack the dogs to catch the enemy of Allah." 

So they attacked until they drove the Romans back to the gate where the people 
defended them with arrows and stones. The Muslims returned to their camp after 
having killed great numbers of the enemy and seizing their booty, wealth and cross. 

Thomas entered the city and shut the gates. The doctors came to extract the arrow 
from his eye but were unsuccessful, so they sawed it off, leaving the point in his eye. 
They asked to take him to his house, but he refused and sat at the gate entrance until 
the pain subsided. They said, "Go home for the remainder of the night, for today we 
have suffered two tragedies - the tragedy of the Cross and the tragedy of your eye. 
All this has been caused by the archer. That nation is invincible, so we ask you to 

Thomas became angry and said, "Be destroyed! Should I forget about the Great 
Cross being taken and my eye being lost? When this news reaches Caesar, he will 
accuse me of weakness and helplessness. No, they will be pursued under all 
circumstances. I will recover my Cross and avenge my eyes with 1,000 of their eyes 
and take back all that they have looted. Then I will go to their master in al-Hijaz, 
wipe out his traces, destroy their houses, level the habitations and turn their cities into 
abodes of wild animals." 


Part 1: Damascus 

The accursed one went to the top of the wall with his eye bandaged and encouraged 
the people, "Do not be afraid and do not fear that which has appeared to you from 
the 'Arabs. I guarantee that the Cross will strike them down." 

So they became firm and launched a violent assault until Shurahbil <$> sent a message 
to Khalid <& to inform him of the situation. The messenger said, 'Thomas, the enemy 
of Allah, has launched a massive attack against us, so we request reinforcements 
because the battle is fiercer here than at the other gate." 

Khalid & : All praise belongs to Allah! But how did you manage to capture the cross 
from the Romans? 

Messenger : A man was carrying it in front of Thomas when Aban's widow shot him 
with an arrow. It fell towards us so Allah's enemy came out, but Aban's widow shot 
him in the right eye. 

Khalid * : Thomas is greatly respected by Caesar and is the one that is preventing 
them from surrendering. May Allah suffice us from his evil. Return to Shurahbil and 
tell him, "Guard that which I have ordered you to, for every division is engaged in 
its own problems and cannot come to you. However, remember that I am nearby and 
that Dirar is patrolling the city and is therefore also there for you." 

The messenger returned and informed Shurahbil 4fe who remained patient and fought 
on for the rest of the day. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t rejoiced when he heard of what had occured between Shurahbil <$> 
and Thomas and his capture of the cross. 

47) The night attack 

In the morning, Thomas summoned the city elders and warriors. When they arrived, 
he said, "O Christians, a greatly untrustworthy nation has descended upon you. They 
have arrived and now inhabit your lands. So how can you be so patient when your 
women are dishonoured and your children imprisoned? Your women are now their 
slave-girls and your children their slaves. The Cross did not fall except out of anger 
at your desire for peace with the 'Arabs and so it had no relationship left with you. I 
went out against them and would not have returned until I had completely finished 
them off, but was struck in my eye. I will definitely take revenge and pluck out 1 ,000 
'Arab eyes. I will get to the Cross and soon reclaim it from them." 



Damascenes : Here we are present before you and are pleased with whatever you are 
pleased with for yourself. If you order us to go out, we will go and if you order us to 
fight, we will fight. 

Thomas : Know that he who bravely tackles war does not fear anything. I have 
resolved to attack tonight and catch them in their places for the night terrifies and you 
are better acquainted with the terrain than they are. All of you must prepare for 
battle tonight and go out of the gate. I shall not return until I have completed these 
tasks. When I have finished them off, I will take their commander as a prisoner to 
Caesar so that he may do with him as he pleases. 

Damascenes : Out of love and honour (we obey). 

Then when they split up into groups at each gate, Thomas said, "Do not fear, for their 
leader is far from you. There are none here except their lower-classes and freed- 
slaves, so grind them like you grind wheat." 

He called one group to go out from Faradis Gate against 'Amr bin al-'As 4& while he 
departed from the Thomas Gate with every great warrior. Hanging a gong on the wall 
he said, "The sounding of the gong will be the signal for you to rush out of the Gates 
and slay the sleeping enemy. If you do this, you will break them so that they will 
never heal again." 

They rejoiced and went to their stations, awaiting the signal to attack the Muslims. 
Thomas called a Roman and said to him, "Take a gong and climb up the wall with it. 
When you see us opening the gate, sound it lightly so that only our people can hear 
it." He then led with his group, all armoured and carrying swords. He carried an 
Indian blade and wore a Persian helmet which Heraclius had gifted to him. The 
Romans kept their swords still until they reached the gate where Thomas waited for 
their numbers to be completed. When he saw them completed he said, "O people! 
When we open the gate, rash out at full speed towards the enemy. Attack them and 
place your swords in them. Do not spare anyone who begs for mercy, except the 
commander. If anyone sees the Cross he should grab it." 

They responded, "For love and honour!" 

Thomas ordered someone to go to the man with the gong and order him to strike it 
lightly. He opened the gate and they rushed out against the unaware Sahabah <&- 
However, some of the Sahabah 4> were awake. Upon hearing the noise they woke up 
the others. The Muslims sprang up like striking pythons so that they were alert when 
the enemy arrived. They attacked the disorganised enemy with their swords under 


Part 1: Damascus 

cover of darkness until Khalid & heard. He stood up anxious about the yelling and 
shouted, "Come forth to the aid of Islam! By the Lord of the Ka'bah, my people have 
been tricked - O Allah, keep watch over them with the Eye which never sleeps. O 
Most Merciful of those who show mercy." 

Khalid * went forth without armour or headgear, wearing only a linen Syrian robe. 
He and 400 horsemen rode like angry lions until they reach the Eastern Gate where 
they found the group fighting Rafi' bin 'Umayrah and his men. The Muslim voices 
were raised with, "La ilaha illallahu!" and "Allahu Akbar!" while the enemy had 
been looking down from the walls and screaming since the Muslims awoke. Khalid 
& attacked the Romans proclaiming, "Glad tidings, O Muslims. Help has come from 
the Rabb of all the worlds. I am the valiant horseman. I am Khalid bin al- Walid." He 
attacked them, throwing their warriors to the ground and killing their men, all the 
while worrying about Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> and the Muslims at the other gates whose 
screams could be heard. The Romans, Jews and Christians were all screaming. 

Sinan bin 'Awf narrates: I asked my cousin, Qays, "Were the Jews also fighting 
you?" He narrated: 

Yes, they were shooting arrows at us from above the walls. At that time Khalid * 
feared what the enemy of Allah was doing to Shurahbil 4& who was in dire straits 
with none other facing equal difficulty. The first to reach the Muslims was Thomas. 
They patiently fought him as he shouted, "Where is your despicable general who 
afflicted me? I am the defender of the Cross." 

He wounded several Muslims. When Shurahbil •& heard him he turned to him and 
said, "I am your man, I am your rival, I am the exterminator of you all, the seizer of 
your cross and the scribe of the revelation of Rasulullah H." 

Thomas sprang to him like a lion but found Shurahbil 4i> to be a fierce opponent and 
thus the two rivals remained fighting until half the night had passed. 

Aban's <& widow was in Shurahbil's & army and displayed the greatest patience 
while shooting her arrow. Her every arrow found its target until she killed many 
Romans. They began avoiding her until one Roman appeared, whom she shot in the 
throat. He screamed to his comrades who gathered against her and took her prisoner, 
while the enemy of Allah died. Shurahbil * struck Thomas with a terrific blow 
which he blocked with his leather shield, shattering the sword. Thomas intended 
taking him prisoner when two Roman horsemen grabbed him with the Muslim 
cavalry coming behind them. When these Muslims attacked the Romans, Umm Aban 



broke free. She attacked them and called out. 'Abdurahman bin AM Bakr ^ and 
Aban bin 'Uthman bin 'Affan led the Muslims to her and killed the two Roman 
horsemen. Thomas returned to Damascus unsuccessful. 

Tamim bin 'Adi who witnessed the conquest of Syria narrates: 

I was in the tent of Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe who was performing Salah when he heard a 
scream. He said, "There is no power to do good and no ability to avoid evil except 
through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty." He put on his armour and called his 
men to prepare them. He saw the Muslims in an uproar and fighting, so he overtook 
both the (Roman) right-wing and left-wing advancing on the gate shouting, "Allahu 
Akbar!" The Muslims also began shouting, "Allahu Akbar!" When the Christians 
heard, they thought that the Muslims were attacking from behind so they retreated 
while Abu 'Ubaydah •$> mowed them down. 

I (al-Waqidi) have been informed that not a single Roman survived Abu 'Ubaydah's 
<$> attack that night. During the fight, Dirar & arrived soaked in blood. Khalid 4& said, 
"What has happened behind you?" 

Dirar 4» : Glad tidings, O commander, I did not come to you until I slaughtered 150 
men this night and my men killed such a number which cannot be counted. I have 
sufficed you against the threat coming from the Small Gate against Yazid bin Abi 
Sufyan. Then I went to the other gates and killed many men. 

Khalid 4s> was pleased with that. They then all went to Shurahbil & and thanked him 
for what he had achieved. On that moonlit night, such events happened the like of 
which had not been seen before and thousands of Romans were slain. 

48) The surrender 

The city elders went to Thomas and said, "Sir, we advised you, but you did not heed 
us. Most of us have been killed and they have such a leader, Khalid bin al-Walid, who 
cannot be overcome but he is more pliant towards peace than you. So if you do not 
agree, we will make peace ourselves and you can do as you please. Thomas pleaded, 
"O my people, give me a chance until I write to Caesar to inform him of what has 
befallen us." He immediately wrote the following letter: 


Part 1: Damascus 

To : Merciful Caesar 

From : Your son-in-law, Thomas 

The 'Arabs have come upon us like the white of an eye 
surrounding the pupil. They massacred the Ajnddayn army and 
then returned to us and killed many of us. I went out against 
them but lost my eye, so now I have resolved to surrender and 
render Jizyah to the 'Arabs. You should either come here 
yourself or send reinforcements or order us to make peace with 
them, for indeed our difficulties have intensified. 

He then folded it, sealed it and sent it off. 

In the morning the Muslims began preparing for battle. Khalid <& sent a message to 
each general ordering him to attack from his position. So Abu 'Ubaydah & mounted 
his horse and launched an attack. Matters became so bad for Damascus that the 
people begged Khalid .&> for respite. He refused and insisted on battle. The situation 
continued like this until the siege began severely pressing the Damascenes who were 
waiting for Caesar's order. They gathered and said to each other, "We cannot bear 
this any longer. If we go out to fight the 'Arabs they will overcome us and if we leave 
them the siege will just worsen. Therefore, let us agree to peace on their terms." 

An old man who had read the ancient scriptures said, "O my people, I swear by God 
that even if Caesar comes with his whole army, he will not be able to defend you 
from them. I have read in the Book that Muhammad is the seal of the Prophets and 
that his religion will conquer every other religion. So it will be better if you submit 
and give them whatever they want." They inclined towards him because of his great 
learning and knowledge of predictions of the future wars and said, "What is your 
opinion, for that man at the Eastern Gate is a great bloodshedder." 

Old man : If you wish this, then go to the man at al-J&biyah Gate where someone who 
knows 'Arabic should call out loudly, "O 'Arabs, safety!" until we go down to them 
and speak to their general. 

Abu Hurayrah £> narrates: 

AM 'Ubaydah & had stationed men near the gates fearing a raid like that of the 
previous night. That night was the turn of Banu Daws under 'Amir bin at-Tufayl ad- 



Dawsi 4fc. While we were sitting near the gate we heard the Romans calling out, so I 
rushed to Abu 'Ubaydah & and told him. He was pleased and said, "Go and tell them 
that they have our guarantee of safety." 

When I told them they asked, "Who are you?" 

I said, "I am Abu Hurayrah, the Sahabi of Rasulullah S, but even if a slave had to 
give you safety from us in the pre-Islamic period we would not betray you, so (think 
for yourselves) what our condition is now that Allah has guided us to Islam." 

So they opened the gate and 100 of their priests and elders came out, going to Abu 
'Ubaydah's & army. The Muslims went to them and took away their crosses. When 
they reached Abu 'Ubaydah's 4&> tent, he welcomed them and after seating them said, 
"Our Prophet Muhammad S has said, 'When the respected one of a nation comes to 
you, you should honour him.' " 

They began speaking about peace and said, "We want you to leave our churches and 
not destroy them." 

Amongst the churches of that time were the Cathedral of John the Baptist, which is 
today the al-Jami' al-Umawi; the Church of Mary; the Church of Hanna; the Church 
of the Night Market and the Church of Warning. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4e> said, "None will be destroyed" and wrote out the treaty of 
surrender and guarantee of safety without signing it or having it witnessed because 
he was not the commander-in-chief. They took it and said, "Come with us to the 

So he stood up and the following rode with him: Abu Hurayrah, Mu'ath bin Jabal, 
Nu'aym bin 'Amr, 'Abdullah bin 'Amr ad-Dawsi, Thul Kala' al-Himyari, Hassan bin 
Nu'man, Jarir bin Nawfal al-Himyari, Sayf bin Salamah, Ma'mar bin Khalifah, 
Rabi'ah bin Malik, al-Mughirah bin Shu'bah, Abu Lubabah bin al-Munthir, 'Awf bin 
Sa'idah, 'Amir bin Qays, 'Ubadah bin 'Atibah, Bishr bin 'Amir and 'Abdullah bin 
Quit al-Asadi, totalling thirty-five senior Sahabah & as well as sixty-five ordinary 
people. When they approached the gate, Abu 'Ubaydah 4» said, "I need hostages until 
we enter with you," so they handed the hostages over. 

It is said that Abu 'Ubaydah 4* had seen Rasulullah S in a dream. Rasulullah S 
told him, "If Allah wills you will conquer the city tonight." 

He said, "O Rasulullah, I see that you are in a hurry?" 


Part 1: Damascus 

Rasululldh S : I have to attend Abu Bakr's Salatul Janazah. 

Then he awoke. 

I (al-Waqidi) have been informed that when Abu 'Ubaydah 4& entered the city of 
Damascus through the al-Jabiyah Gate with his companions, the monks and priests 
walked ahead of them, raising the Bible and burning incense of aloe-wood, 
ambergis, musk and frankincense. Khalid Mfr did not know because he was launching 
an attack. 

A Roman priest named Jonah, son of Murcius, lived a house attached to the city wall 
joining the Eastern Gate where Khalid * was. Jonah possessed the Prophecies of 
Daniel S5B wherein it was written, "Allah Most High will conquer the lands through 
the Sahabah and their Din will triumph over every other religion." 

That night he dug a hole from his house (to the outside of the city) and unknown to 
his family, went to the Muslim camp. He told Khalid <&, "I have come out of my 
house and dug a hole (under the city wall). I want a guarantee of safely for myself, 
my family and children." 

Khalid <&> agreed and sent with him 100 men, mostly Himyaris, and said, "When you 
enter the city go to the gate, break the locks and remove the chains so that we can 
enter if Allah wills." So they followed Jonah and entered his house via the hole where 
they put on their armour and made preparations. Then they emerged and went to the 
gate where they raised cries of "Allahu Akbar!" When the Christians heard, they 
became alarmed. The Sahabah ,&> broke the locks and cut the chains. Khalid 4& and 
the Muslims entered and began killing and capturing the Romans until they reached 
the Church of Mary. 

49) Surrender and Conquest 

Khalid's 4t> army met Abu 'Ubaydah 's <& army at the church. Abu 'Ubaydah's 4& men 
were walking, with the monks walking in front of them. When Abu 'Ubaydah 4& saw 
Khalid's 4& amazement at them having their swords sheathed, he said, "O Abu 
Sulayman, Allah has peacefully conquered the city through me. Allah suffices the 
Muslims in battle. Peace has been made." 

Khalid &> : What peace? May Allah never rectify their condition. How can they have 
a peace agreement when I have conquered them by the sword and the Muslims' 
swords drip with their blood and I have taken their children as slaves and seized their 



Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : O commander, I entered through peaceful surrender. 

Khdlid ^> : You were always so unaware. I entered with the sword through conquest 
and they had no defence left. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & '■ Fear Allah, O commander. By Allah! I have accepted their 
surrender and implemented it. I have given them a written agreement. 

Khdlid 4»> : You make peace with them without my instructions when I am your 
commander-in-chief? I will not remove my sword from them until I have finished off 
every last one of them. 

Abu 'Ubaydah &: By Allah! I did not think that you would oppose me when I made 
the agreement. I held an opinion and Allah is in control of my affairs. I have spared 
all their lives and guaranteed them the safety of Allah and Rasulullah ft. All the 
Muslims with me were satisfied with that and treachery does not become us. 

The argument intensified with everyone looking on. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& saw that 
Khalid 4s> was not shifting and that those Sahabah & who were with him were 'Arab 
bedouins, adamant on killing the Romans and seizing their wealth. He called out, 
"Alas, by Allah! I gave them protection and it has been violated." He pointed at the 
bedouins, once to the left and once to the right and said, "O Muslims, I take oath on 
behalf of Rasulullah S that you will not do what you are doing until Khalid <$> and I 
come to an agreement." 

The killing and looting stopped and the horsemen, flag-bearers and generals went to 
meet at the church. Amongst them were Mu'ath bin Jabal, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan, 
'Amr bin al-'As, Shurahbil bin Hasanah, Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar 
bin al-Khattab and others <&- A party which included Mu'ath ^ and Yazid <& said, 
"We feel that Abu 'Ubaydah 's treaty should be implemented and the killing halted. 
All the cities have not yet been conquered and Heraclius is still in Antioch. If they 
find out about the surrender and its betrayal, then not a single city will surrender, 
whereas surrendering to you is better than killing them. (O Khalid), you keep what 
you have taken by the sword while Abu 'Ubaydah administers for you his area. In the 
meantime, the two of you can write to the Khalifah for arbitration and we will do 
whatever he says." 

Khdlid ^ : I accept and grant them all temporary safety except for Thomas and 

(Thomas had appointed Herbius as sub-governor of half the city since he took 


Part 1: Damascus 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> : Those two were the first to enter into the pact, so do not break my 
word, may Allah have mercy on you. 

Khalid^ : Were it not for your word I would have killed them, but they will have to 
leave the city. May Allah curse them wherever they may go. 

Abu 'Ubaydah *> : Then on these terms is their surrender. 

Thomas and Herbius observed the argument and feared their destruction so they went 
with a translator to Abu 'Ubaydah *> and said, "What is that other one saying?" 

Translator : What are you and your friend saying? Your friend intends treachery 
whereas we and the citizens have entered into a pact with you and he breaks it, which 
does not become you. So permit me and my companion to leave and go wherever we 
want to go to. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : At the moment you are under my protection. 

Translator : We remain your responsibility for three days, in whatever direction we 
go in. After three days your responsibility is over. Then, whoever of you meet us after 
three days and overcomes us can kill us or capture us as he desires. 

Khdlid 4fe : We accept that, but you will not carry away with you anything except 
your food. 

Abu 'Ubaydah *fe : That condition will contravene the treaty because it allows them 
to leave with all their men and wealth. 

Khdlid 4k : Then I will allow it, except for weapons of which I will not let them take 

Thomas : We need weapons for the journey to defend ourselves until we reach our 
lands. Otherwise, we are now in your hands, decide what you will. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> : Let each man take one weapon only - sword or spear or knife or 

Thomas : We are pleased with that. We do not want more than one weapon each. But 
I fear that man, Khalid, so I want this agreement in writing. 

Abu 'Ubaydah * : May your mother be bereft of you! It is not our 'Arab way to 
betray or lie. Abu Sulayman's word is his word and his promise is his promise and 
he only speaks the truth. 



50) Thomas leaves Damascus 

The two Roman leaders left to gather their people and order them to evacuate 
Damascus. Heraclius had there a stock of about 300 bundles of brocade and golden 
robes. Thomas wished it all to be salvaged. He ordered a silk tent to be erected 
outside Damascus. The Romans came and took out the goods, wealth and bundles 
until they had extracted a massive amount. When Khalid 4% saw this great quantity 
he said, "How great is their luggage!" 

' * ' ? ' {'■A' " ( " - - rf • "{*$*■* **\ ''fit 

And were it not that mankind would have become one 

community (of disbelievers) We would have made for the 

Disbelievers in the Most Gracious, silver roofs for their houses 

and ladders whereby they ascend. [43:33] 

Then he looked at them, seeing that they were like fleeing donkeys, none sparing a 
glance at his brother due to their intense haste. So he raised his hands skyward 
saying, "O Allah, make this for us, make us its owners, make these goods sustenance 
for the Muslims. O Allah, accept this du'a. Verily you are the Hearer of du'as." 

Then he said to his men, "I have an idea, will you follow me in it?" 

Muslims : We will follow you and not oppose you. 

Khalid 4b '■ Prepare your horses and weapons, for after three days I will go with you 
in pursuit of these people with the hope that Allah will grant us all this wealth you 
see. My heart tells me that they have taken every last good robe and item out of 
Damascus with them. 

Muslims : Do as you please, we will not object. 

They then began making preparations. 

Thomas and Herbius gathered the amount Abu 'Ubaydah 4» had fined them with and 
gave it to him. He said, "You have fulfilled your duty, now go wherever you want to 
with three days' guarantee of safety from us." 


Part 1: Damascus 

Yazld bin Ztaartf narrates: 

After they paid the fine, they left like a black thunder cloud. A large part of the 
population of Damascus left with their children, disliking to stay with the Muslims. 
Khalid * argued with those who remained behind over the large supply of wheat and 
barley that remained, so Abu 'Ubaydah said, "It belongs to the Damascenes 
according to the treaty." 

His party and Khalid's * party became heated in their disagreement until they agreed 
to write to Abu Bakr &> for his decision, not knowing that he had passed away on the 
day they had entered Damascus. 

'Atiyah bin 'Amir narrates: 

I was standing at the gate of Damascus on the day that the Romans, including 
Heraclius's daughter, departed with Thomas and Herbius. I saw Dirar <& looking at 
them askance, regretful at what had not been taken from them. I said to him, "O Ibn 
al-Azwar, why do I see you so regretful? Does Allah not have more than that?" 

Dirar <& : I do not want the money, but I am regretful that they are all still living and 
are escaping us. Abu 'Ubaydah made a bad deal for us. 

I said, "O Ibn al-Azwar, the trustworthy one of the Ummah only desired good for the 
Muslims by saving their blood and sparing their wives from the fatigue of war. 
Indeed the sanctity of one human life is better than whatever the sun has risen upon. 
Allah has placed mercy in the hearts of the Believers and has stated in some of His 
revealed books, 'The Rabb does not have mercy on those who do not have mercy,' 
and has also said: 

JJ>- ?tl£aJlj 

And reconciliation is best. [4:128] 

Dirar <&■ : You have spoken the truth, but bear witness that I have no mercy for those 
who ascribe a wife and son unto Allah. 



51) Jonah and his wife 

'Umar bin 'Isa narrates from 'Abdul Wahid bin 'Abdillah al-Basri who 
narrates from Wathilah bin al-Asqa'*: 

I was in the Damascus army of Khalid bin al-Walid <&. It was he who put me in 
Dirar's & cavalry which had to patrol the city from the Eastern Gate to the Thomas 
Gate to the Peace Gate to al-Jabiyah Gate to the Small Gate to the Songstresses' Gate. 
One day, before the conquest of Damascus, we heard the screeching of the gate. A 
horseman emerged whom we left until he came near. Then we seized him by the hand 
and said, "Say a word and we will kill you." He was silent. Then another came out 
calling for the first one whom we had captured, so we said to the prisoner, "Speak to 
him until he comes here." So he said in his gibberish Greek, "The bird is in the net." 

The other realised that he was captured and so returned and locked the gate. We 
wanted to kill the prisoner but some said, "Do not kill him until we take him to 
Commander Khalid." 

So we took him to Khalid & who asked him, "Who are you?" 

Jonah : I am from the Roman lands. I had married a girl of my nation before your 
invasion. I love her very much, so when the siege lengthened, I asked her family to 
send her to me, but they refused, saying, "We are too busy to send her to you." 

I wanted to meet her, so we agreed to meet at a recreation ground in which we used 
to spend time. We met there where she asked me to go with her outside the city. We 
opened the gate and I went out to see the situation when your men captured me. She 
called out to me so I said, "The bird is in the net," to warn her against you for I feared 
for her. If it was someone else I would not have bothered. 

Khalid 4» : What is your opinion of Islam? 

Jonah : I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that 
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 

Thereafter he fought with us and fought fiercely. When we entered the city 
peacefully he went to seek his wife. It was said to him, "She has become a nun." 

He went to her but she did not recognise him. He said, "Why have you become a 


Part 1: Damascus 

Wife : I was in love with my husband. When he was captured by the 'Arabs, I became 
a nun out of grief. 

Yunus (Jonah) : I am your husband and I have entered the religion of the 'Arabs. 

Wife : What do you want with me? 

Yunus : That you stay (with me) under Muslim rule. 

Wife : I swear by Christ that I will never do that. That is impossible. 

She then left with Thomas. 

Yunus went to complain to Khalid who replied, "Abu 'Ubaydah conquered the city 
by treaty, so you have no authority over her." 

When he found out that Khalid * was leaving in pursuit of them, he said, "I will go 
with him, perhaps I will catch her." 

Khalid <& remained until the fourth day when Yunus, the Damascene, went to him 
and said, "O commander, did you not resolve to go in pursuit of Thomas and Herbius 
and take whatever is with them? 

Khalid 4»: Yes. 

Yunus : Then what is stopping you? 

Khalid 4& : They have gone for four days and nights and travel fast, fleeing us. We 
will not be able to catch them. 

Yunus : If distance is your excuse, then know that I know these lands best and I am 
the speediest traveller. If Allah wills, we will catch them, but dress like the Christian 
'Arabs of Lakhm and Jutham. Take provisions and go. 

Khalid & took 4,000 cavalry and ordered them to go with light provisions. They 
went with Khalid & and Yunus in front to act as guide, tracking down the 
Damascenes. Khalid 4& had left Abu 'Ubaydah * in charge of Damascus and the 

Zayd bin Zharif narrates: 

Yunus was our guide who found their tracks. They had left whatever bundles had 
fallen off the camels untouched. Whenever we entered a Roman town, they thought 



that we were Christian 'Arabs of Lakhm and Jutham until the guide brought us close 
to the coast. He continued following the tracks until he found that they had come to 
Antioch but had not entered. Confused, he went to a nearby village to question the 
people. They replied that Caesar had been informed that Thomas and Herbius had 
surrendered Damascus to the 'Arabs and was therefore angry at them. He did not 
allow them to come to him because he had gathered great armies to be sent to al- 
Yarmuk and feared that if the two of them spoke to the soldiers their hearts would 
weaken when hearing of the bravery of the 'Arabs. He therefore sent them to 

Yunus had separated from the Muslims to investigate. 

Khalid 4b had finished leading the Muslims in Salah when Yunus returned and said, 
"O commander! I have led you to a dead end." 

Khalid * : How is that? 

Yunus : You sent me in their tracks to this place hoping to catch them, but Caesar 
prohibited them from entering Antioch so that they do not scare his army. He has 
ordered them to head for Constantinople; there is this great mountain between you 
and them. You are by a mountain deep in Heraclius's territory and he is gathering an 
army to fight you. I fear that if you cross the mountain you will be destroyed, but the 
choice is yours. I have done whatever you have ordered me to. 

52) Khalid's & dream 

Dirar * narrates: 

I saw Khalid's 4fe colour change to green out of fear, a quality I did not associate with 
him, so I said, "O commander, what frightens you?" 

Khalid 4t> : O Dirar, by Allah! I do not fear death nor being killed. What I fear is that 
the Muslims will suffer due to me for I have seen a frightening dream before the 
conquest of Damascus and await its interpretation. I hope that Allah will grant us 
goodness and victory over the enemy. 

Dirar 4* : Goodness! Allah willing, I only see goodness! What did you see? 

Khalid 4k : I saw us travelling in a barren land when we came across a herd of wild 
donkeys, big-bodied but small-hoofed. Our spears could not wound them and they 
were not concerned about our swords hitting them and hurting them, nor showed any 


Part 1: Damascus 

anxiety whatsoever. This carried on with great effort from our side and from our 
horses. I then split up my men to attack them from all four sides so they shied away 
from us and went to mountain passes, hills and fertile valleys. We only caught a few. 
While we were roasting them, the others returned to fight us. I was looking at them 
when the mountain passes and jungles called out to the Muslims, "Mount your 
horses in pursuit of them. May Allah bless you." 

The Muslims and myself mounted and chased them until I caught a great donkey and 
killed him. The Muslims started hunting and killing until only a few were left. I was 
overjoyed and wanted to return with the Muslims to their homeland when I fell off 
my horse and my turban flew off my head. I wanted to pick it up but awoke afraid 
and frightened. Can any of you interpret this? I think it is about our current state. 

Everyone took this badly and Khalid 4» intended to return when 'Abdurahman bin 
Abi Bakr * said, "The donkeys are the Romans we are chasing. Your falling from 
your horse is your decline from a high position to a low position. As for the falling 
of your turban, well turbans are the crowns of 'Arabs, so it is some lowering of 
status you will encouter." 

Khalid *> : If that is the interpretation then I ask Allah to make it a matter of the world 
and not the Hereafter. I seek Allah's help and rely upon Him in every matter. 

Khalid 4s>, with the guide ahead, crossed the mountain. We hoped to capture the 
Romans the following morning and that night, it rained as if water was being poured 
from waterskins. Through Allah's mercy, the rain stopped the Romans from further 

Rawh bin Tarif narrates: 

We were travelling with the rain falling on us the whole night like water being poured 
from water-skins. At sunrise, Yunus said, "O commander! Halt here until I find them. 
They are doubtlessly close to us for I have heard their shouting." 

Khalid 4» : Have you truly heard them, O Yunus? 

Yunus : Yes, permit me to go and gather information on them. 

Khalid & turned to al-Mufrit bin Ja'dah and said, "Go with Yunus and beware of 
them discovering the two of you." 

Al-Mufrit : I hear and obey Allah and you. 



The two left and climbed al-Abrash Mountain which the Romans call 'Cold 

Al-Mufrit narrates: 

When we reached the top, we saw a great meadow filled with much large vegetation. 
The Romans had been caught in the rain and their baggage was soaked. The sun was 
still covered so they feared it being damaged. They took out the brocade, spread it 
out in the meadow and then most of them slept due to the difficulty of the journey, 
fatigue and rain. When I saw that, I was happy and returned to Khalid 4* leaving 
behind Yunus. When he saw me alone he hurried towards me thinking Yunus had 
been captured and said, "What is behind you? Tell me quickly?" 

Al-Mufrit : Good (news) and booty, O commander! They are behind this mountain, 
soaked with rain. They are resting in the sun and have spread out their goods. 

Khalid 4b : May Allah bless you. 

I perceived in his face great overwhelming joy and then suddenly Yunus appeared 
and said, "Glad tidings, O commander! They are complacent, but please order your 
men that whoever comes across my wife should guard her, for I want nothing from 
the booty besides her." 

Khalid 4b : She is yours if Allah wills. 

Khalid 4b then divided his men into four divisions of 1,000 each, one under Dirar, 
one under Rafi' bin 'Umayrah, one under 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr and one under 
himself 4fc. 

Khalid 4b : Go with the blessings of Allah, but avoid going together. Instead, each 
group should go in intervals. 

They spread out with Dirar 4b first attacking the complacent Romans followed by 
Rafi' bin 'Umayrah then 'Abdurahman, then Khalid &. 

'Ubayd bin Sa'id narrates : 

By Allah! We were entranced by the beautiful sight when Khalid said, "Get the 
enemies of Allah. Do not occupy yourselves with the booty and looking at the 
meadow, for if Allah wills it will all be yours." When the Romans saw the Muslim 
horsemen led by Khalid 4b coming, they rushed for their weapons, mounted their 


Part 1: Damascus 

horses and said to each other, "These are but a few horses which Christ has brought 
to you as booty, so rash to them." 

So they went forth thinking that Khalid 's & squadron was alone, when Dirar & 
emerged with 1,000 horsemen, then Rati' bin 'Umayrah and then 'Abdurahman. 
Each squadron spread out, surrounded the Romans and targeted a different group 
shouting out, "There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of 

The horses descended upon them like a stream. 

Herbius called out to their men, "Defend what you have been blessed with. They will 
never leave this place." 

So one group went with him while another group of 500 horsemen went against 
Khalid & under the leadership of Thomas, carrying a golden cross encrusted with 
jewels. Khalid <& attacked him shouting, "O enemy of Allah, did you think that you 
could escape us when Allah folds up the earth for us?" 

Aban's * widow had pierced one of Thomas's eyes, so Khalid 4fc stabbed his other 
eye and gouged it out. He then flung him off his horse while his men attacked the 
Romans. 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr &> was most amazing. No sooner had he seen 
Thomas falling, than he jumped off his horse, sat on his chest, cut off his head, raised 
it on his spear-point and called out, "By Allah! The accursed Thomas is killed," and 
then went in search of Herbius, with the Muslims cheering. 

53) Yunus and the princess 

Rlfi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

I was in the right-wing with Khalid 4i> when I saw a horseman in Roman attire 
dismounting and struggling with a Roman nun who got the better of him. I went to 
have a better look and saw that it was Yunus struggling like a lion with his wife. I 
went to help him but then he pointed out a group of ten women aiming rocks at my 
saddle. A most beautiful woman wearing brocade threw a large rock which struck my 
horse's forehead. My horse, which had partaken in the Battle of Yamamah, now fell 
down dead. I ran after her and she fled like a hunted deer with the other women 
behind her. I caught up to them, intending to kill them. I shouted, targeting the one 
who killed my horse. She screamed for help when I raised my sword. I stopped and 
went towards her. She was wearing brocade and had on her head a net of pearls. I 



took her prisoner and tied her up. I retraced my steps, mounted a Roman horse and 
said to myself, "By Allah! I must go and see what has happened to Yunus." I found 
him crying and sitting with his wife who was covered in her own blood. I said to her, 
"Become a Muslim." She replied, "By Christ, I will never join you people." Then she 
took out a knife and committed suicide. I said, "Allah has given you a 
replacement better than her. She wears brocade, has a net of pearls on her head and 
is more beautiful than the moon. So take her in place of your wife." He said, "Where 
is she?" I replied, "Here, this woman who is with me." 

When he saw her, her dress and her ornaments and realised how extremely beautiful 
she was, he began speaking to her in Greek and asked her her identity. She replied 
in Greek and wept. He then turned to me and exclaimed, "Do you know who this is?" 

I replied, "No." 

He said, "She is Heraclius's daughter, Thomas's wife. Someone like me is not suited 
for her. Heraclius will definitely look for her and pay her ransom." 

It is narrated that the Muslims could not find Khalid •& or any trace of him and were 
greatly worried about him. He was in fact deep in battle aiming for Herbius after 
Thomas was killed. While attacking in all directions, he spotted a heavily-built, red- 
coloured Christian whom he thought must be the accursed one, so he headed towards 
him on his horse with great effort to kill him. When the Christian saw him coming 
he fled, but Khalid 4s> hit him with his spear and he fell down on the ground on his 
head. Khalid pounced on him like a lion saying, "O Herbius, did you think that you 
could escape me? Destruction be upon you." 

The Christian knew 'Arabic and replied, "O 'Arab, I am not Herbius so spare me and 
do not kill me." 

Khalid^ : Your only way out is to lead me to him. When you have done that, I will 
release you. 

Christian : You are sure that you will let me go if I show him to you? 

Khalid 4$> : I am sure. You will be released. 

Christian : O 'Arab brother, get off my chest so that I can show him to you. 

When Khalid * got off he sprang up, looked right and left and said, "Look towards 
the mountain. One of those horses climbing is mounted by him." Khalid 4& handed 
him over to Ibn Jabir and then gave his horse free rein in pursuit of the enemy. 


Part 1: Damascus 

He caught up to them and shouted, "Did you think that you could escape me?" 

When Herbius heard him, he shouted out and turned back with the armed patricians. 
Khalid 4k said, "Destruction be upon you! Do you think that Allah would not give us 
power over you? I am the valiant horseman, Khalid bin al-Walid." 

Then he stabbed and finished off one horseman followed by a second. Herbius called 
out to his men, "He is the one who turned Syria upside down, he is the invader of 
Busra, Hawran, Damascus and Ajnadayn. Get him." They entertained hopes of 
catching him since he was alone, separated from the rest of the Muslims who were 
fighting and pillaging the Romans, each one concerned with his own matters. Due to 
the rough terrain of the mountain, the patricians dismounted and surrounded Khalid 
& on foot. He too dismounted and stood firm and patient with sword and shield in 
hand to fight them. 

54) Herbius is killed 

Shaddad bin Aws <&, who was present at the Meadow of Brocade, narrates: 

Khalid * said to himself, "The dream has turned out to be true." 

Then while he was busy fighting them, Herbius came from behind and struck him 
with his sword cutting right through his turban and helmet. Herbius 's sword then fell 
from his hand. Khalid 4& feared that if he turned to Herbius the others would attack 
him from behind, but if he fought them, then Herbius would escape. So he began 
shouting, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" and recited salutations upon Rasulullah 
$ with great joy so as to deceive the Christians into thinking that he was about to 
receive help. The Muslims heard a sound and came from behind the Romans 
shouting, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" One voice stood out saying, "La ilaha 
illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah! Help has come to you from the Rabb of all the 
worlds. I am 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr as-Siddiq." 

Khalid 4t> paid no attention to them, but began tearing the enemy ranks apart with his 
attacks in all directions. Upon hearing the Muslims, Herbius wanted to flee, but 
Khalid 4fe caught him and struck him dead in a single blow and Allah sped his soul 
to Hell. The Companions of Rasulullah iH then descended upon the companions of 
Herbius and finished off every last one of them. Dirar 4& killed most of them. When 
Khalid's 4& anxiety left him and he saw what Dirar *$> had achieved, he exclaimed, 
"May you be blessed in your every action. May you triumph in your every deed. May 
my Rabb keep you in a good state." 



Then he went to make salam to 'Abdurahman 4& and all the Muslims and asked, 
"How did you locate me?" 

'Abdurahman 4h : O saved one, Allah granted us victory over the Romans so we were 
busy in collecting the booty when suddenly a voice from the wind said, "You are 
busy with booty while the Romans surround Khalid!" 

However, we still did not know where you were and searched for you. A Christian 
held captive by your men pointed your position out to us and said, "I showed him 
where Herbius is. He is now with him at that mountain," and so we came to you. 

Khalid '& : He had shown us Herbius and had shown me to the Muslims, so now his 
rights against us have been confirmed. 

He then returned with them to the Muslims who, when they saw him, rushed to him 
to make salam. He returned their salam and called for the Christian who had shown 
him Herbius and said to him, "You fulfilled your duty and now we have to fulfil our 
promise. At the same time, you gave us advice so now we will give you advice - if 
you join the Din of Salah and Fasting and the Ummah of Muhammad S you will 
become of the people of Paradise." 

He replied, "I have no desire to change my religion," so Khalid 4& let him go. 

Nawfal bin 'Amr narrates: 

I saw him mounting his horse and heading on his own to Roman territories. The 
booty and prisoners were all gathered as Khalid 4k had ordered. When he witnessed 
their great quantity, he praised Allah abundantly and thanked Him. Then calling his 
guide, Prince Yunus, said to him, "What did you do to your wife?" 

Yunus narrated the whole incident which astonished Khalid <&. 

Rdfi' : O commander, I captured Heraclius's daughter and gave her to him as a 
substitute for his wife. 

Khalid 4*> : Where is she? 

When she was brought before him, Khalid 4^ saw her great beauty. He turned away 
from her and said, "You are pure from all blemishes. O Allah, all praise belongs to 
You alone. You create and choose what You want to." 


Part 1: Damascus 

jl&3 f\l& L. jEr j£fcj 
And your Rabb creates what He wants to and chooses. [28:68] 

"Do you (Yunus) wish to take her in place of your wife?" 

Yunus : Yes, except that Heraclius will doubtlessly want to ransom her or free her 

Khalid ^ : Take her for now. If he does not look for her, then she is yours and if he 
does then Allah will give you better than her in return. 

Yunus : O commander, you are in a tight and difficult situation, so leave now before 
enemy forces arrive. 

Khalid & : Allah is for us and with us. 

He then pressed forth in returning with the booty ahead of him. The Muslims were 
behind him, joyous at the booty obtained, their safety enjoyed and victory granted. 

55) Khalid 's £> gift to Heraclius 

Rawh bin 'Atiyah narrates: 

We traversed the whole road without a single Roman appearing against us, although 
we were right in the centre of enemy territory. Upon reaching the Small Meadow near 
Umm Hakim Canal, we saw dust rising from behind us, which made us 
apprehensive. Someone went to go and inform Khalid who said, "Who will go and 
investigate it for me?" A man from the Ghifar tribe, Sa'sa'ah bin Yazid said, "I, O 

He got off his horse and ran ahead on foot because he was faster than a horse. He 
reached the dust-cloud, investigated it and returned calling out, "O commander, the 
Christians have caught us. They are completely covered in iron with nothing visible 
of their bodies except for their eyes." 

When the (Roman) cavalry neared, Khalid & called Yunus the guide and instructed 
him, "O Yunus, go to the cavalry and see what they want." 



Yitnus : I hear and obey. 

He went and returned to report, "O commander, did I not tell you that Heraclius 
would not neglect to go in search of his daughter? He has sent this cavalry to retrieve 
the booty from the Muslims, but now that you are close to Damascus, they are 
sending a messenger to ask you to either sell the girl or to gift her back. Khalid began 
discussing the matter with the Muslims until an old man wearing the garb of a 
travelling priest came to the Muslims, who brought him before Khalid $&>. 

Khalid & : Say what you have got to say. 

Priest : I am the messenger of Heraclius Caesar. He says to you, "I have been 
informed of what you have done to my men and of your killing of Thomas, my son- 
in-law, and violating my sanctity. You have attained victory and safety, so do not 
over-step the bounds with my daughter who is with you. So now either sell my 
daughter or gift her back to me, for indeed generosity is in your nation's character 
and nature. Remember that he who does not show mercy is not shown mercy. I also 
hope to reach a peace settlement with you. 

Khalid 4b : Tell your master that I shall not leave him and the Christians until I have 
his throne and the very ground under his feet. (O Heraclius), you know this. If you 
knew a way to come against us you would not have hesitated. As for your daughter 
take her as a present from us. 

Khalid ^ then handed her over to the old man without taking anything as ransom. 
When the messenger informed Heraclius, he said to the Roman leaders, "This is what 
I was telling you about, but you did not want to accept it and wanted to kill me. Soon 
things will get even more serious, but this is not from you but from the Lord of 

The Romans wept bitterly at this. 

56) The martyr 

Khalid 4b reached Damascus where Abu 'Ubaydah &> and the Muslims had lost hope 
over him and were greatly depressed. When Khalid 4b arrived they came out to 
welcome him and the Muslims began greeting each other. Khalid 4b found 'Amr bin 
Ma'dikarab 4b, Malik bin al-Ashtar 4*> and their men in Damascus. He went to Abu 
'Ubaydah 4b who, upon being told of the expedition, was highly impressed by his 
exploits. He then took out the state's one-fifth share of the booty and distributed the 


Part 1: Damascus 

remainder amongst the Muslims. Giving Yunus something from his own share, he 
said, "Take this and use it to get married or buy a Roman slave-girl." 

Yunus : By Allah! I will never marry a woman of this world. I will only marry 'Ayna 
the virgin damsel of Paradise. 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

He fought with us until al-Yarmuk. There I saw him fighting earnestly in the Path of 
Allah, greatly inflicting the Romans until an arrow pierced his throat and he fell 
down dead, may Allah have mercy on him. Then I saw him in a dream, wearing 
glittering clothing and golden sandals wandering in a lush garden. I said to him, 
"How has Allah treated you?" He replied, "He has forgiven me and given me 
seventy women of Paradise. Were one of them to appear in the world, the light of her 
face would eclipse both the sun and moon. May Allah reward you all well." 

I related this to Khalid 4fe who said, "By Allah! That is nothing but martyrdom. How 
fortunate is he who attains it." 

57) Khalid's<* letter 

I (al-Waqid!) have been informed that when Khalid 4&> returned from his expedition 
with the booty, he desired to write to Abu Bakr <& of the victory and booty, thinking 
that he was still alive. Abu 'Ubaydah *fe had not informed him (of his demise) and 
that 'Umar 4fe was the new Khalifah. So he called for an ink-pot and paper and wrote: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

To : 'Abdullah, the Khalifah ofRasululldh 

From : His governor of Syria, Khalid bin al-Walid 

Saldm 'Alayka 

I praise Allah besides whom there is no other deity and I send 
salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. 

We continued suffering from the enemy in attacking Damascus 
until Allah sent down upon us His help and conquered His 



enemy. Damascus was conquered with the sword from the 
Eastern Gate but the Romans deceived Abu 'Ubaydah -& who 
was at the al-Jdbiyah Gate and reached a peace agreement with 
him which has prevented me from enslaving or killing them. We 
met him at the Church of Mary, with priests and monks in front 
of him, holding the treaty. Caesar's son-in-law, Thomas, and 
another man called Herbius left the city with enormous wealth 
and fat bundles (of brocade). I followed them with an army and 
snatched the booty from their hands and killed the two accursed 
ones. I made Heraclius s daughter prisoner and then gifted her 
back to him, returning safely. I am awaiting your orders. 

Was-saldm 'alayka. 

Salutations and saldm be on our master, Muhammad, his family 
and Sahdbah. 

He folded the letter, sealed and stamped it and sent it with 'Abdullah bin Qurt 4& to 
al-Madinah, where the new Khalifah, 'Umar bin al-Khattab 4& read the opening and 
said, "Do the Muslims not know that Abu Bakr has died?" 

lbn Qurt ^ : No, O commander of the Believers. 

'Umar *fe : I had sent a letter to Abu 'Ubaydah with this news and also dismissing 
Khalid •$> and appointing him over the Muslims, knowing him undesirous of that 

He then continued reading the letter. 



(Part 2 


Part 2: Hims 


1. The new Khalifah 

2. The assassin 

3. Abu 'Ubaydah's <& appointment 

4. 'Umar's <&> letter 

5. Abu al-Quds expedition 

6. Ibn Ja'far and the monk 

7. The obstruction 

8. The Muslims are trapped 

9. Ibn Unays fetches help 

10. Help arrives 

1 1 . Dirar 's <&> exploits 

12. The booty 

13. Drinking wine 

14. March against Hims and Antioch 

15. The Story of Jabalah bin al-Ayham 

16. Khalid's * raid 

17. Conquest by kindness 

18. Luke's plan 

19. The truce 

20. The statue 

21. 'Umar's 4» letter 

22. Slaves and firewood 

23. Dialogue with Jabalah 



24. Khalid 4& goes against Luke 

25. Luke captured 

26. Khalid 4& and Jabalah 

27. 'Abdurahman 4& fights Jabalah 

28. Muslims face destruction 

29. The blessed hair of Rasulullah S 

30. The caravan of Ba'labakk 

31. Battle of Ba'labakk 

32. The Romans reject surrender 

33. The Romans attack 

34. Second Roman attack 

35. Romans trapped in the ruins 

36. The Muslims are trapped 

37. The Romans seek a way out 

38. The Roman envoy 

39. The Romans come out 

40. Abu 'Ubaydah 4»> and the governor 

41. The treaty 

42. The Romans pay war indemnity 

43. The price of greed 

44. Abu ' Ubaydah 's & ultimatum 

45. Attack on Hims 

46. The second day 

47. 'Ata's scheme 

48. Provisions and unexpected results 


Part 2: Hims 

49. Conquest with crates 

50. Conquest of ar-Rastan 

5 1 . Rebellion in Shayzar 

52. The great Christian coalition 

53. Return to Hims 

54. Hims resists 

55. Battle of Hims 

56. Martyrdom of 'Ikramah 4& 

57. Khalid's 4k plan 

58. The governor is killed 

59. Hims surrenders 


Part 2 


1) The new Khalifah 

The historians (who have narrated from such narrators mentioned at the 
outset) have narrated the events of the Conquests of Syria (with all chains of 
narrations from reliable narrators) viz Muhammad bin Ishaq, Yusuf bin 'Amr, 
and Abu 'Abdillah Muhammad bin 'Umar al-Waqidi who have all narrated 
from a chain of reliable narrators: 

Upon the demise of Abu Bakr <$>, 'Umar <& became the Khalifah at the age of 52. The 
people pledged an oath of allegiance to him in the Masjid of Rasulullah ® with no 
one, neither old nor young, disagreeing. During his rule disunity and hypocrisy were 
uprooted, falsehood was terminated, truth established, the power of the state 
strengthened, the plots of the Devil weakened and Allah's affair became victorious 
even though the Disbelievers disliked it. 

Amongst his noble characteristics was that he would sit with the poor, be kind to 
people and Muslims in particular, be merciful towards the young, respect the elderly, 
show compassion to the orphan, grant justice to the wronged until all rights were 
fulfilled and those who merely criticised would never concern him. 

During his rule he would patrol the markets of al-Madinah, dressed in rags and 
carrying his whip which was more feared than the swords of kings. 

His food was barley bread and his gravy was crushed salt. Sometimes he would leave 
the salt out of abstinence, caution and compassion towards the Muslims, desiring 
nothing but Allah's reward. Nothing could prevent him from fulfilling his duty 
towards Allah or the Sunnah of Rasulullah S. 



'Aishah narrates: 

By Allah! As soon as 'Umar 4& became the Khalifah he set to work with great effort 
and without any arrogance. His teeth would bite into nothing besides barley bread 
and salt and he would often have olive oil and dried dates too. Sometimes he would 
have butter and say, "I hate olive oil and barley bread, but hunger today is lighter than 
the fire of Hell. Whoever falls therein never dies nor does he find any relief. Its stay 
is long, its punishment severe, its drink is pus and no permission is given to them to 
offer excuses." 

During his rule he systematised the military, despatched armies, conquered many 
lands and built cities. May Allah be pleased with him. 

2) The assassin 

I (al-Waqidi) have been informed that when Heraclius heard of 'Umar •$. succeeding 
Abu Bakr •&, he summoned all the patricians, princes of the realm and ministers. He 
then stood to address them, standing on a pulpit erected for him in a church, "O 
Romans, this is what I warned you about, but you would not listen. With the 
ascension of this brown man, the situation will only worsen. The time has drawn near 
for a conqueror to come who will resemble Noah. I swear by God that he will most 
certainly rule what is beneath this platform on which I stand. Beware! Beware before 
this occurs and great harm befalls, palaces are demolished, priests are massacred and 
church bells smashed. This is a man of war who will bring grief to Rome and Persia. 
He abstains from the world and is stern against those who do not follow his religion 
but follow what they like. I have hope that you will triumph if you order the good 
and forbid the bad, leave injustice, follow Christ in all that is compulsory to obey, 
abstain from adultery and fornication and, in fact, all kinds of sinning. If you refuse 
and stick to corruption, sinning, wickedness and worldly passions, God will give 
your enemy power over you and inflict you with that over which you have no power. 
I know that the religion of these people will triumph over every other religion for as 
long as they do not change, so either you go to their religion or submit and pay 

As soon as they heard these words they rushed towards him, intending to kill him but 
he managed to pacify them and said, "I merely wished to see how loyal you are to 
your religion and if fear of the 'Arabs is firmly embedded in your hearts or not." 

Then he called a Christian 'Arab, Tali'ah bin Maran, and promised him great wealth 
saying, "Go immediately to Yathrib and see if you can kill 'Umar bin al-Khattab." 


Part 2: Hints 

Tali' ah : Yes, Caesar. 

He made his preparations and upon reaching al-Madinah, hid in the outskirts to 
ambush 'Umar 4b. 'Umar 4b came to oversee the wealth of the orphans and inspect 
their gardens. The Christian climbed up a tree with twisting branches and hid 
amongst the leaves. 'Umar 4b went to that very tree and fell asleep, lying on his back 
and using a stone as a pillow. The Christian was about to climb down to kill him, 
when suddenly a creature appeared from the desert, circled 'Umar & and licked his 
feet. An unseen voice proclaimed, "O 'Umar, you have maintained justice, so you are 
safe." When 'Umar 4<= awoke, the beast left and the Christian climbed down. He 
threw himself at 'Umar 4b, kissed his hands and said, "May my father and mother be 
ransom for such a creation whom the beasts guard, the angels describe and the Jinn 

Then he told him the whole story and embraced Islam at his hands. 

3) Abu 'Ubaydah's &> appointment 

'Umar 4b then wrote the following letter to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b: 

I have appointed you over Syria and made you commander of the Muslims. 
Khdlid is dismissed. Was-saldm. 

He despatched the letter with 'Abdullah bin Quit 4b- He remained anxious over the 
affairs of the Muslims, paying special attention to Syria. 

'Abdullah bin Salim narrates from his reliable teachers: 

'Abdurahman bin Awf az-Zuhri narrated the following dream to 'Umar 4b which he 
saw on the same night that Abu Bakr 4b passed away: I saw Damascus with the 
Muslims around her. Their cries of "Allahu Akbar" reached my ears. With their 
shouts and attacks, a fort began to sink into the earth until I could not see anything 
of it remaining. I saw Khalid 4b entering her with the force of the sword as if there 
was something like a fire in front of him into which he fell and then it was 

'Ali 4b : Glad tidings! If Allah wills, it means that they conquered Damascus today. 

A few days later 'Uqbah bin 'Amir al-Juhani 4b, the Sahabi of Rasulullah H, brought 
the letter describing the victory. He narrates: 



'Umar * : O Ibn 'Amir, when did you leave? 

'Uqbah & : Friday. 

'Umar 4& : What news have you brought? 

'Uqbah & : Glad tidings which I will announce to Abu Bakr 4»- 

'Umar & : Allah has taken him in a good state. He has gone to His generous Rabb. 
'Umar now bears the burden. If he is just he will be saved, if he abandons justice or 
confuses matters then he will be destroyed. 

I wept and invoked Allah's mercy upon Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased 
with him. I handed the letter over to 'Umar who read it, but did not announce its 
contents until Salatul Jumu'ah. After the Khutbah and Salah, he ascended the 
mimbar. The people gathered around him, and he read out the letter. The Muslims 
were overjoyed and called out, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" 

He then descended and wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah 4& appointing him as commander and 
dismissing Khalid <&. He then handed me the letter, ordering me to return. I returned 
to Damascus to find that Khalid had gone in pursuit of Thomas and Herbius. I 
delivered the letter to Abu 'Ubaydah &, who did not announce Abu Bakr's 4&> death 
and kept quiet about his appointment and Khalid's * dismissal. Khalid 4» then 
returned from his expedition and wrote a letter describing the conquest of Damascus, 
their victory against the enemy, the booty of Brocade Meadow and the release of 
Heraclius's daughter. 

He then handed the letter to 'Abdullah bin Quit <& who delivered it to 'Umar 4fc. 
When he read the opening, "From Khalid bin al-Walid to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq," he 
disliked it and said, "O Ibn Quit, do the people not know of Abu Bakr's death and 
my appointment of Abu 'Ubaydah?" 

Ibn Qurt *&> : No. 

'Umar <&> got angry, gathered the people, stood on the mimbar and said, "O people, 
I had appointed Abu 'Ubaydah, the Trustworthy Man, because I felt him worthy and 
have dismissed Khalid." 

A Makhzumi : Do you dismiss such a man through whom Allah has unsheathed a 
cutting sword and granted victory? Neither Allah, nor the Muslims will excuse you 
if you sheathe this sword and dismiss a commander who is ordered by Allah. You 
would be breaking family ties. 


Part 2: Hints 

'Umar <& looked at him and found him to be quite young and so he said, "A youth, 
angry for the sake of his cousin," and got off the mimbar. He laid down and put the 
letter under his head, pondering over Khalid's <&> dismissal until the next day. 

After performing Salatul Fajr, he mounted the mimbar, praised Allah, sent salutations 
upon Rasulullah ®, invoked mercy upon Abu Bakr «fe and said, "O people, I am 
burdened with great trust. I am a shepherd and every shepherd is accountable with regard 
to his flock. I have come to rectify your affairs and oversee your lives and that which will 
draw you and the people of your city closer to your Rabb. This is because I have heard 
Rasulullah S saying, 'He who is patient over the difficulties and evils of al-Madinah 
will have me interceding for him on the Day of Judgement. 'You have no agriculture 
or dairy to speak of except that which a camel brings from a distance of a month's 
journey. Allah has promised us much booty and I intend that it reaches both the elite 
and the commoners. I will fulfil the trust and honour of the Muslims. I have no 
objection to Khalid being governor, except that he is too lavish in spending - he gives 
the poet who praises him and gives the Mujahid and horseman more than he is 
entitled to. Thus nothing remains for the poor and weak Muslims. I am therefore 
replacing him with Abu 'Ubaydah. Allah knows best that I appoint him due to his 
trustworthiness, so none should say, 'You have dismissed the strong man and 
installed the soft man,' for Allah is with him and assists him." 

4) 'Umar's 4fe> letter 

He got off the mimbar and wrote the following letter to Abu 'Ubaydah ^ona piece of 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : The slave of Allah, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, the Commander of 
the Believers. 

To : Abu 'Ubaydah 'Amir bin al-Jarrdh 

Salam 'Alayka 

I praise Allah besides whom there is no other deity and send 
salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. 



I have appointed you over the affairs of the Muslims, so do not 
be shy, for Allah is not shy when it comes to the Truth. I advise 
you to fear Allah Who will remain and besides Whom everything 
will perish. It is He who took you out of Disbelief into Faith and 
from Misguidance to Guidance. I have appointed you over the 
army which is with Khdlid. So take charge of his army and 
dismiss him from his post. 

Do not send the Muslims into destruction desiring booty. Do not 
send a small expedition against a huge force. Do not say, "I 
hope victory for you, " for victory is only with firm conviction 
and sticking to Allah (not mere hope). 

Beware of being deceived into throwing the Muslims towards 
destruction. Lower your gaze from the world and keep your 
heart occupied from it. Beware of being destroyed like those 
before you. You have seen their destruction and way of thought. 
Between you and the Hereafter is a covering through which your 
predecessors have passed. You are now like someone waiting for 
his journey from such an abode whose vigour has passed, whose 
beauty has faded and so its people have prepared their transports 
to go to another abode. Its provision is Fear of Allah and to 
consider the Muslims as far as you are able to. 

As for the wheat and barley which you found in Damascus and 
greatly argued about, it is for the Muslims. One-fifth of the gold and 
silver will be taken for the state and the rest is for the Mujdhidin. As 
for your dispute with Khdlid about whether the conquest was by 
peaceful surrender or by conquest of the sword, well you are now 
the governor in charge. Your treaty is to be implemented with the 
Romans. Gifting Heraclius's daughter was wrong for a great 
ransom could have been obtained and spent on the weak Muslims. 


Part 2: Hims 

Peace, Allah's Mercy and Blessings be upon you and all the 

He folded the letter and stamped the seal with his ring. He then summoned 'Amir bin Abi 
Waqqas, brother of Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas 4k, and said to him, "Go to Damascus and give 
this letter to Khalid. Order him to assemble everyone and then you, O 'Amir, should read 
it out to them. Also, inform him about Abu Bakr's •£> death." 

Then he called Shaddad bin Aws 4k, shook his hands and said, "Go with 'Amir to Syria. 
After he reads the letter, order the people to render to you the oath of allegiance to 
represent the oath unto me." 

The two hastened to Damascus where the people awaited news of Abu Bakr <& and his 
orders. When the two arrived, everyone was happy at their arrival and eager to hear them. 
The two went to Khalid's 4k tent, where 'Amir said to him, "I have left 'Umar in a good 
state. I have this letter here which he has ordered me to read in front of everyone." 

Khalid 4k was doubtful and disliked it, but gathered the Muslims. When 'Amir 
announced Abu Bakr's 4k death, they raised a great noise with their crying. Khalid 4k also 
wept and said, "If Abu Bakr is dead and has appointed 'Umar as his successor, then we 
will hear him and obey his orders." 

'Amir then read out the letter to the end, after which they rendered the oath of allegiance 
to Shaddad 4k. 

This was in Damascus, 3 Sha'ban 13 Hijri. 

5) Abu al-Quds expedition 

I (al-Waqidi) have been informed that Khalid 4k became even sterner against the 
enemy and firmer in Jihad after his dismissal, especially at Abu al-Quds Fort. I asked 
the narrator of this report about Abu al-Quds Fort. He said, "Between 'Irqa and 
Tripoli is a meadow called the Chain Meadow facing a complex of monasteries. In 
one cell there lived a monk who was knowledgeable in Christianity and had read the 
previous scriptures and histories of the past nations. The Romans came to him for 
knowledge. He was over 100 years old and annually a festival would be held at his 
monastery marking the end of the Roman fast. During this festival, Palm Sunday, the 
Christians would come to him from all places including coastal lands and Egypt. He 
would then look down at them from a high place and advise them from the Bible. 



During that festival a great annual market would also be held. Goods, gold and silver 
would be brought to it, so that for three days buying and selling took place." 

The Muslims were not aware of all this until a Christian, from those who pay Jizyah, 
told them of this. He had received protection for himself and his family. When Abu 
'Ubaydah <$> took charge of the affairs of the Muslims, the Christian intended to go 
to him so that the monastery and market could be captured at his hands. He reached 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4& while he had long been pondering over which Roman place to 
target next. Sometimes he would say, "I will take the army to Baytul Muqaddas for 
she is the noblest of all their cities and the seat of the Roman Empire upon which 
their religion is based." At other times, he would say, "I will go to Antioch to target 
Heraclius and be rid of him." He had already gathered the Muslims and was still in 
this state of confusion when the Syrian Christian came to him. 

Christian : O Commander, you have been most kind to me, have granted me safety 
and spared my wife, family and wealth. I will now tell you of such booty which, if 
God grants it to the Muslims, they will be wealthy and never suffer from poverty 

Abu 'Ubaydah <$> : Tell us of this booty and its location, for I know you to be a well- 

Christian : Facing you is a fort on the coast known as Abu al-Quds Fort. Opposite it 
is a monastery where a monk lives. The Christians seek blessings through his prayers 
and learn from him. He celebrates an annual festival in which people gather from 
every direction, town, city, village and monastery. There a great market is held in 
which they display their lavish clothing of brocade and their gold and silver for three or 
seven days. The time for that market is soon approaching, so seize all that is therein, kill 
the men and enslave the women and children. This is such a booty which will gladden the 
Muslims and it will humiliate your enemy through its loss. 

Abii 'Ubaydah <$> (happy at this prospect) : How far away is this monastery? 

Christian : Ten Farsakh (54.9 km) on a strenuous route. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b '■ When will the market be held? 

Christian : In a few days time. 

Abii 'Ubaydah 4* '■ What kind of security do they have to keep them in control? 


Part 2: Hints 

Christian : We do not know of such a thing in Caesar's realm because fear of 
Heraclius sits in their hearts, so they do not interfere with each other. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> : Are there any cities near it? 

Christian : Yes, Tripoli, the economic hub of Syria, is nearby. Caravans come to 
Tripoli from all directions. A great experienced patrician, whom Caesar chose for his 
experience, stays there and attends the market. Although I do not know of any 
security at the market, there may be some now out of fear of you. Even if he goes 
and confronts the Muslims, I am sure that, God willing, they will be victorious. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4® called out, "O people, who amongst you gifts his life to Allah, 
Most High, and will lead the army I am sending to conquer for the Muslims?" 

Everyone kept silent so he asked a second time, hinting at Khalid 4& but not saying 
it directly as he was embarrassed at his dismissal. A youth with thick hair hanging 
from the sides with a thick moustache stood up from amongst the people. He was 
'Abdullah bin Ja'far .&>, the son of Asma bint 'Umays al-Khath'amiyah and Ja'far 4» 
who had been martyred at Mutah when Abdullah ^ was quite young. When he grew 
up he asked his mother, who had married Abu Bakr 4s>, "O my mother, what has 
become of my father?" Asma replied, "O my son, the Romans killed him." 

He would say, "If I live, I will avenge him." Upon Abu Bakr's demise and 'Umar's 
■& ascension, he went to Syria with the expedition sent by 'Umar 4» under 'Abdullah 
bin Unays al-Juhani 4fe. Ibn Ja'far 4» greatly resembled Rasulullah S in both 
character and physique and was counted amongst the generous ones. 

6) Ibn Ja'far & and the monk 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> called out, "O people, who will go to the monastery?", Ibn 
Ja'far & sprang up and said, "I will be the first to join this expedition, O Trusted One 
of the Ummah." Abu 'Ubaydah was pleased and began selecting for him men from 
amongst the Muslims and horsemen from amongst those who hold Allah to be One 
and said, "You will be the commander of this expedition, O cousin of Rasulullah Si." 

He tied a black flag for him and handed it over to him. His expedition consisted of 
500 cavalry which included veterans of Badr. Amongst those who took part 
included Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, 'Abdullah bin Abi Awfa, 'Amir bin Rabi'ah, 
'Abdullah bin Unays, 'Abdullah bin Tha'labah, 'Uqbah bin 'Abdillah as-Sulami, 
Wathilah bin al-Asqa', Sahl bin Sa'ad, 'Abdullah bin Bishr, as-Saib bin Yazid and 
other such great men; may Allah be pleased with them all. 




All 500 had witnessed many battles and had penetrated into the thick of war. They 
would never flee or even incline towards fleeing and were dependable in travel. 
When they had gathered under Ibn Ja'far's & flag, Abu 'Ubaydah & said, "O cousin 
of Rasulullah II, do not attack until the first day of the market is held." Then he bade 
them farewell and they departed. 

(I hope this to be a sign of acceptance from Allah that the following events of 15 
Sha 'ban 14 Hijri were translated without prior planning on 15 Sha 'ban 1423 Hijri - 
translator 's note) 

They left Damascus for Abu al-Quds Monastery on the 15th night of Sha'ban with 
the moon bright. 

Wathilah bin al-Asqa'4fe narrates: 

I was at the side of 'Abdullah bin Ja'far * who said to me, "O Ibn al-'Asqa', how 
nice and bright the moon is tonight." 

Wathilah 4z> '■ O cousin of Rasulullah 0, this is the great and blessed night of mid- 
Sha'ban. During this night, provisions and lifespans are decreed and sins are 
forgiven. I had intended spending the night in Salah, but our journeying in the Path 
of Allah is better than that. Allah is a generous giver. 

Ibn Ja'far & : You have spoken the truth. 

We continued travelling through the night until we came across the monastery of a 
monk wearing a black hooded cloak. He began to closely examine our faces, one by 
one. He stared for a long time at 'Abdullah and then said, "Is this the son of your 

Muslims : No. 

Monk : The light of prophethood shines between his eyes. How did he get it? 

Muslims : He is his cousin. 

Monk : Then he is part of the leaf and the leaf is part of the tree. 

Ibn Ja'far •& : O monk, do you know Rasulullah? 

Monk : How can I not know him when his name and description is in the Torah, 
Gospel and Psalms? He is handsome with a reddish complexion and a drawn sword. 


Part 2: Hims 

Ibn Ja'far & : So why do you not believe in him and accept him? 

Monk (raising his hand to the sky) : I will believe when the Master of these skies 
wants me to. 

We were shocked at his words and continued on our journey with the guide leading 
us. When we came to a valley filled with trees and water, he ordered us to camp there 
and said to Ibn Ja'far &, "I am going out to scout." 

Ibn Ja'far <&, : Hurry and bring news back to us. 

He hastened away while Ibn Ja'far &> personally kept watch until morning. 

7) The obstruction 

In the morning we prayed Salatul Fajr and sat waiting for the guide who did not 
return. His delay made us anxious and we feared some deception from him. The 
Devil began his whisperings which made all of us think of him as evil except for Abu 
Tharr <$>, who said, "Think good of your companion and do not fear any plot or 
deception from him for you know how he is." 

We all kept quiet after that until he suddenly arrived. When we saw him we were 
overjoyed, thinking that he would tell us to get up to go to the enemy. He came and 
stood in the midst of the Muslims where he said, "0 Companions of Muhammad, I 
swear by Christ, son of Mary, that I do not lie to you in what I am telling you. I 
sincerely wished the booty for you but there is an obstruction blocking your path to 

Ibn Ja'far &> : What is this obstruction? 

Guide : It might as well be the sea that blocks you. I saw that the market had already 
started with buying and selling taking place. The Christians had gathered with most of 
ftem going to the monastery of Abu al-Quds where the priests, monks, princes and 
patricians gathered. When I saw all that, I did not want to return until I found out the 
reason why there were so many more people this year than any other year. I went and 
mixed with the crowd until I found out that the governor of Tripoli was marrying his 
daughter to a Roman prince. They brought her to receive Communion from the monk. She 
was surrounded by a large number of Christian 'Arab cavalry out of fear of you, as they 
know you Muslims to be in Syria. O Muslims, I do not consider it appropriate for you to go 
ahead because their numbers are absolutely huge. 



Ibn Ja'far 4» : How many civilians and soldiers are there? 

Guide : There are more than 20,000 civilians in the market including Romans and 
Armenians. There are Christians, Copts and Jews from Egypt, Syria and Africa. There are 
patricians and Christian 'Arabs. The soldiers number 5,000 against whom you have no 
power. They can easily call up a similar number of reinforcements from their lands which 
are adjoining, whereas the 'Arabs are far from you. 

This news depressed Ibn Ja'far 4» and the Muslims who wished to return. Ibn 
Ja'far 4» said, "O Muslims, what is your opinion?" 

Muslims : We believe that we should not fling ourselves into destruction as 
instructed by our Rabb in His book. We should take the matter up with the 
commander, Abu 'Ubaydah 4&. Allah will not let our reward go to waste. 

Ibn Ja'far 4* : As for me, I fear that Allah will write my name down amongst the 
deserters. I will not return and I will not offer weak excuses to Allah, Most High. 
Allah is responsible for the reward of whoever helps me, but there is no blame on 
whoever wishes to return. 

Muslims (ashamed) : Do as you like, for precautions will not avail against what is 

Ibn Ja'far 4* was delighted with this reply. He donned his armour, helmet, belt and 
his father's sword and mounted his horse. He took the flag in his hand and ordered 
the men to take their gear. They got the armour and weapons and mounted their 
horses, saying to the guide, "Take us to the enemy so that they may see amazing 
things from the Sahabah of Rasulullah $1." 

Wathilah bin al-Asqa'4fc narrates: 

I saw the guide's face turn yellow and his whole complexion change. He said, "You 
people can go and do that. I have no obligation in your matter." He started leaving, 
but Ibn Ja'far 4*> won him over and he led them for a while. He then paused and said, 
"Wait here for you are now near to them. Hide here until dawn and then attack them." 

We spent the night in the place he ordered us to, seeking Allah's assistance against 
the enemy. At dawn Ibn Ja'far 4« led us in Salatul Fajr and then said, "When do you 
people feel we should attack?" 

'Amir bin 'Umayrah bin Rabi'ah : I will show you a plan upon which you should act. 


Part 2: Hims 

Muslims : Do tell us. 

'Amir : Attack them when they are fully occupied with their buying, selling and 
displaying of goods. 

The Muslims all approved of this. They unsheathed their swords, tied their bow- 
strings and made general preparations with Ibn Ja'far 4» in front, carrying the flag. 
At sunrise he divided the Muslims into five squadrons of 100 each and said to each 
squadron-commander, "Each hundred should attack a different sector of the market. 
Do not become engrossed in loot and plunder, but place your swords in their heads 
and shoulders." 

He then went forward and saw the Romans spread out, numerous as ants. A great 
crowd surrounded the monk's monastery. The monk had come out and was 
admonishing the people, advising them and teaching them about their religion while 
they attentively listened to him. The daughter of the patrician of Tripoli was in the 
monastery. All the patricians and their sons wore brocade covered with gold. Their 
upper bodies were covered with armour, glittering arm-guards and helmets. They 
were looking around, guarding their front and rear. 

8) The Muslims are trapped 

When Ibn Ja'far &> saw the monastery, the monk and all that was surrounding them, 
he became afraid but called out, "O Sahabah of Rasulullah S, attack! May Allah 
bless you. If booty, happiness, victory and safety are for us then it is at that gathering 
by the monastery. If it is not to be, then we are promised Paradise and will meet each 
other at the pond of Rasulullah S with his Sahabah 4fe." 

He targeted the crowd, striking them with his sword and stabbing them with his 
spear, with the Muslims attacking behind him. When the Romans heard the Muslims 
calling out, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!", they thought that the armies of the 
Muslims had reached them. They were in fact expecting that and were alert against 
any attack, so the mob rushed towards their weapons to protect their lives and 
property. They unsheathed their swords and turned to attack the Muslims like savage 
lions. They searched for the flag, and finding only one, they surrounded those 
Muslims around the flag from every side fighting fiercely and began throwing up 
dust. The Muslims were so few that they were like a white spot on a black camel's 
skin. The Sahabah of Rasulullah S could only find each other through the cries of 
T-a ilaha illallah" and "Allahu Akbar!", but everyone was too busy with himself to 
come to another's rescue. 



Abu Sabrah Ibrahim bin 'Abdil Aziz bin Abi Qays -*>, who was from the very 
first Muslims and had performed Hijrah twice, reports: 

I witnessed Ethiopia with Ja'far bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, and 
joined Rasulullah H at Badr, Uhud and Hunayn. I said to myself that I would partake 
in any similar event. When the soul of Rasulullah 31 was taken away, I grieved over 
him and was unable to remain in al-Madinah. I went to Makkah where I was 
reprimanded in a dream for abandoning Jihad. So I went to Syria where I partook in 
the Battles of Ajnadayn, Damascus, Khalid's ^ pursuit of Thomas and Herbius and 
Ibn Ja'far's expedition. I was with him at the Monastery of Abu al-Quds when I 
experienced such an occurrence which I had not experienced with Rasulullah S. It 
was when we were attacking the Romans with such paltry numbers while they were 
so many that nothing could hide them from sight. We saw their fearsome bodies 
covered in armour which hid their entire bodies except for the eyes. They attacked 
like a great crashing storm until none of the Muslims were visible to me, everyone 
being trapped in their midst. I could not hear the Muslims except for some 
occasionally raised voices. I said to myself, "They have been destroyed." 

Then I saw 'Abdullah bin Ja'far <& raising the flag aloft, attacking the Disbelievers 
and not being repulsed. He was waging Jihad at such a young age with the battle 
prolonging, its flames intensified and darkened. He was right in the centre of the 
enemy who had him surrounded. Wherever he tried to attack, they would respond in 
the same direction. We continued fighting until our arms grew weak and our 
shoulders numb. Matters became very bad. We lost patience and Ibn Ja'far's sword 
became blunt in his hands. His horse was about to collapse under him when he 
decided to take refuge with his men at a single place. His men gathered around him, 
and when other Muslims saw the flag they began heading towards it, everyone was 
wounded at the hands of the enemy. Ibn Ja'far's armour began pressing him but he 
was more distressed at the condition of the Muslims than at his own condition. He 
sought Allah's protection, handed himself over to Allah, raised his hands to the sky 
and said: 

"O He who created His creation and tested some of them with others and made that 
a tribulation for them, I ask You through the rank of Prophet Muhammad upon whom 
be salutations and peace that You grant us ease and a way out in our affair. " 

Then he returned to the fight with the Sahabah of Rasulullah & fighting with him 
under his flag. Praise be to Allah at how amazing Abu Tharr & was. He came to the 
aid of Rasulullah's % cousin and fought in front of him. 


Part 2: Hims 

'Amr bin Sa'idah narrates: 

I saw him with an elderly man striking the Romans with his sword and advancing 
into their ranks. This man was saying as he attacked, "I am Abu Tharr !" 

9) Ibn Unays 4b fetches help 

'Abdullah bin Unays al-Juhani 4t> narrates: 

I loved Ja'far <& and from amongst his sons I loved 'Abdullah 4b. Then when 'Abdullah's 
step-father, Abu Bakr & passed away, I saw that his mother, Asma bint 'Umays was 
greatly grieved and that sight pained me. Abu Bakr also loved 'Abdullah intensely. 
Abdullah bin Ja'far got permission from 'Umar bin al-Khattab to go to Syria and said to 
me, "O Ibn Unays al-Juhani, I am going as a mujahid with twenty horsemen to Syria. Will 
you accompany me?" 

I said, "Yes." 

He bade farewell to his uncle, 'All, and 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, and 
set off for Syria with the twenty horsemen until we reached Tabuk where he asked, "O 
Ibn Unays, do you know where my father's grave is?" 

I said, "Yes." 

He said, "I wish to see it." 

We continued until we reached the place, so I showed him where his father had fought 
and I showed him the grave which had a stone placed on it. When he saw it, he 
dismounted and we dismounted with him. He wept and invoked mercy upon his father. 
We remained there until the morning of the second day. 

When we departed, I saw him weeping with his face resembling saffron. When I 
questioned him, he said, "I saw my father in a dream last night. He was wearing two 
green cloths and a crown. He had two wings and had in his hand a drawn green sword 
which he gave to me saying, 'O my son, fight your enemies with this, for whatever 
you see that I have attained has been by means of Jihad.' It was then as if I fought 
with it until it became blunt." 

We continued until we reached Abu 'Ubaydah's <$> army at Damascus. 

When I saw the Romans trapping him, I said, '"Abdullah is close to perishing." 



I left like lightning and returned to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b who asked me, "Do you have 
good news, O Ibn Unays, or bad?" 

I said, "Send the Muslims to help 'Abdullah bin Ja'far and those with him," and 
proceeded to give him a full report. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : Verily we belong to Allah and to Him do we return. Are 'Abdullah 
bin Ja'far and those with him to be afflicted under your flag, O Abu 'Ubaydah, when 
this is his very first mission? 

Abu 'Ubaydah -$> then turned to Khalid 4b and said, "O Abu Sulayman, I ask you in 
the name of Allah to go to 'Abdullah bin Ja'far for you are suitable for that." 

Khalid 4b : If Allah wills then I am. I was only waiting for you to order me. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : O Abu Sulayman, I was shy to order you. 

Khalid 4b : By Allah! Were a small child to order me I would obey. That being the 
case, how can I oppose you when your Faith is older than mine and you preceded me 
in Islam along with those who preceded. You hastened to bring Faith along with those 
who hastened. How can it be possible for me to reach you or to attain your lofty 
status with all that to your credit and with Rasulullah 4b naming you as, 'The 
Trustworthy One?' I make you my witness that I have given my life to the Path of 
Allah and will never oppose you, nor will I ever accept a command post again. 

The Muslims loved these words and so Abu 'Ubaydah 4k said, "Join your brothers, 
Abu Sulayman. May Allah have mercy upon you." 

Khalid 4e sprang up like a lion and went to his equipment. 

His put on the armour of Musaylamah al-Khaththab, which he had taken from him at 
the Battle of Yamamah, and put on a helmet followed by a cap. 

He then tied his sword-belt and practically flowed into his saddle like the flowing of 
a stream and called out to the advance forces, "Come forth and wield your swords." 

They hastily responded and came like flying eagles in obedience to the Most 
Merciful Allah. Khalid 4b took the flag and began waving it with his troops rotating 
around him. 

The Muslims began making salam to each other and then the troop departed with 
Abdullah bin Unays 4b as a guide. 


Part 2: Hims 

10) Help arrives 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

I was that day amongst the troops of Khalid bin al-Walid, may Allah be pleased with 
him. We pressed hard in our journey until Allah folded up for us the lengthy distance. 
Close to sunset, we saw the Romans like spread-out locusts drowning the Muslims 
with their great numbers. Khalid called out, "O Ibn Unays, where will I find the 
cousin of Rasulullah H?" 

Ibn Unays * replied, "He took a pledge with his men to either meet at the monk's 
monastery or in Paradise." 

Khalid 4£> looked towards the monastery and saw the Islamic flag which was in the 
hands of Ibn Ja'far *&>. Every single Muslim was wounded and had given up on the 
temporary life and was looking forward to the Eternal Life. The Romans were 
clashing with them inflicting many sword-strikes and spear-stabs upon the Muslims. 
Ibn Ja'far 4& was calling out, "Get the Disbelievers! Be patient in fighting the astray 
ones. Know that the Most Merciful of those who show mercy has already shown 
(victory) to you." 


How often a small group overcame a mighty force by Allah 's 
leave? And Allah is with the patient ones. [2:249] 

Khalid * saw their patience and firmness in fighting their enemy and could not stop 
himself from launching an assault. Waving his flag he called out to his men, "Get this 
ugly nation and water your swords with their blood. O people, receive glad tidings 
of salvation. Come to success." 

While Ibn Ja'far 4k and his companions found themselves in their terrible 
predicament, the horses of the Muslims appeared. They came like birds upon which 
there were men or rather like clawing eagles and savage lions covered in iron. The 
lions roared and the eagles shrieked. When the entrapped Muslims saw the horses 
coming, they thought that they were Romans who were hiding and had now come out 



against them. They were certain that their destruction was coming and became 
frightened. They took matters hard and lost patience. 

The Disbelievers inflicted destruction and fell upon the Muslims like a burning war. 
Swords glittered, heads rolled and the ground was covered with corpses. The 
Muslims were completely in the grip of the enemy and the sword was doing its work 
upon the men when a voice was heard calling out, "The safe one is abandoned and 
the fearing one is helped. O bearers of the Quran, help has reached you from the Most 
Merciful. We help you against the worshippers of the cross." 

Ibn Ja'far's 4s> men had their hearts in their throats at that time. Suddenly a horseman 
came at the front of the advancing cavalry as if he was a raging lion with a shaft of 
moonlight in his hand. He shouted out loud, "Glad tidings of firm help, O bearers of 
the Quran! I am KMlid bin al-Walid." 

When the Muslims saw the flag and heard Khalid's & voice, it was as if they were 
being pulled out of the deep sea after drowning. They responded with voices filled 
with thunder and storm, "La ilaha illallah" and "Allahu Akbar!" 

Khalid & then attacked with his troops who never separated from him and began 
slashing the Romans with his sword. 

'Amir bin Suraqah narrates: 

Nothing resembled his attack except the attack of a lion against sheep. 

Each Christian tried to defend himself while Khalid 4» tried to reach 'Abdullah bin 
Ja'far &. The Muslims did not know who were on the advancing horses until they 
heard the voice of Khalid * calling out, "O people, get the enemy. Help has come to 
you from the Rabb of Heaven." Then he attacked with the Muslims. 

11) Dirar's £> exploits 

Wathilah bin ai-Asqa'4> narrates: 

We had lost hope of living and were sure that we would be destroyed until Allah's 
aid reached us. So we attacked with our brothers. Before darkness set in, we saw 
Khalid with the flag in his hand shoving the Christians aside just like a shepherd 
moves his sheep. The Muslims were killing and capturing the Romans, but praise be 
to Allah - how amazing Abu Tharr al-Ghifari 4fr and Dirar Ibn al-Azwar & were! 


Part 2: Hints 

They advanced slowly forward as if they were on some parade, waving their swords 
and killing Romans in every direction. Dirar 4b met up with Ibn Ja'far 4b. He saw 
that his armour's sleeve was covered with blood like a camel's liver and said, 
"Thanks be to Allah for saving you, O cousin of Rasulullah @>. By Allah! You have 
avenged your father and have quenched your thirst for revenge." 

Ibn Ja'far 4b : Who is speaking to me? 

He did not recognise Dirar due to the intense dark of the night and also because Dirar 
had his entire face covered except for the eyes. 

Dirar 4* : I am Dirar bin al-Azwar, a Sahabi of Rasulullah ®. 

Ibn Ja'far 4& : O brother, your help is most welcome. 

'Abdullah bin Unays <$> reports: 

While Ibn Ja'far 4fr and Dirar <$> were talking, Khalid 4b came with his army and said, 
"Allah be thanked for you and may He grant you an excellent reward." 

Ibn Ja'far 4b turned to Dirar 4b and said, "O Dirar, there is a Roman force and 
patricians at the monastery protecting the daughter of the governor of Tripoli. She 
has great wealth with her, but a Roman cavalry guards her. Will you join me in an 

Dirar 4* : Where are they? 

Ibn Ja'far 4b : Do you not see them? 

He motioned with his eyes at a Roman force. The soldiers and the patrician from 
Tripoli surrounded the monastery to protect the girl. They had lit fires in which the 
light of the crosses glittered as if they were fires themselves. They resembled a wall 
made of iron. 

Dirar 4b : May Allah keep guiding you towards good. What a good guide you are. I 
will certainly join your attack. 

He took his men with them, who shouted at the Romans and attacked from different 
directions. The guards defended themselves, the most fierce being the patrician. He 
went in front of the people and yelled like a camel and a lion, shouting his words of 
disbelief, attacking most daringly. Dirar 4b aimed at him and the two opponents 
clashed. Dirar 4b examined him and found him to be heavy-built and sitting firmly in 



his saddle. He struck very hard and guarded himself well. Both became more 
cautious of the other, but each one desperate to get at the other. 

Dirar 4» ended up alone with the patrician with no Muslim nearby. He went further 
out to ensnare the enemy and so the patrician and his men came after him to attack 
him. He was searching for a place where his horse could manoeuvre when suddenly 
someone came at him from the darkness of the night. His horse stumbled and he fell 
to the ground. He sprang up to grab the horse but could not find a way to do that, so 
he stood facing the enemy with his sword and shield in hand. He started fighting the 
enemy and persevered like noble ones persevere so that nobody could censure him 
with regard to his duty to Allah. The patrician wanted to hit him with a pole. When 
he struck out, Dirar 4» avoided it and then sprang at him like a lion and struck such 
a blow at the horse that unsettled it. He then stood and clenched his fist to hit it a 
second time right in its eye. 

The horse fell to the ground and the Christian fell down on his back and could not 
get up because he was stuck in the saddle. So Dirar <& went to deal with him before 
his men arrived and struck him on his shoulder tendon, but the sword bounced off 
without effect. The Christian resisted, so Dirar <&> seized him and found him to be like 
a great mountain. He pressed his chest and sat on his throat. He had a knife which 
was made in Yaman which he always kept with him. He took it out of the scabbard 
and began cutting the enemy of Allah from his chest to his navel until he fell down 
dead and Allah sped his soul to Hell. Dirar 4» then got up and sat on the horse of 
Allah's enemy. It had on it much gold, silver and gems worth a large amount. He 
attacked, shouting, "Allahu Akbar!" and scattered them left and right. 

12) The booty 

In the meantime Ibn Ja'far *fe captured the monastery and all those within it. The 
Muslims surrounded the monastery, but did not seize anything awaiting KMIid's <& 
return from pursuing the enemy. He pursued them until they reached a great river 
which separated them from Tripoli. The Romans knew its crossings and crossed over 
leaving Khalid * stranded. He returned to the Sahabah & of Rasulullah S and found 
that they had occupied the monastery and killed the patrician. They were spread out 
gathering the booty and all the goods, carpets, fabric, clothing, food etc. which they 
found in the market. 


Part 2: Hims 

Wathilah bin al-Asqa'£> reports: 

We gathered the booty and ate the good food and took out of the monastery the gold 
and silver vessels, curtains, seats, wealth and the daughter of the patrician who had 
with her forty slave-girls all wearing costly dresses and jewellery. We loaded these 
on Turkish horses, mules and donkeys and returned with great wealth and booty. 

It is narrated that the success of this expedition was attributed to three men: 
'Abdullah bin Ja'far *, the commander; 'Abdullah bin Unays <&, who brought the 
reinforcements and Khalid bin al-Walid 4&, who saved the day. Khalid 4t> had 
undergone great difficulties and had sustained painful wounds. 

As they were leaving, Khalid & went to the monastery and called out to the monk, 
"O monk." He received no reply and so called out a second time and threatened him, 
so he came to him. 

Monk : What do you want? I take oath in the name of Christ that the Master of 
Heaven will retaliate against you for the blood of those whom you have slain. 

Khalid <& : How can He retaliate against us when He Himself has commanded us to 
fight you and wage Jihad against you and has in fact promised us reward for doing 
so? By Allah! Had Rasulullah H not forbidden us, I would not leave you in your 
monastery, but would kill you in a most evil manner. 

The monk kept quiet and did not reply. 

Khalid * and the Muslims returned with the booty to Damascus. There Abu 
'Ubaydah & thanked them and made salam to Ibn Ja'far •$> and Khalid <&. He 
returned to his quarters where he took the state's one-fifth share out of the booty and 
divided the rest amongst the Muslims. To Dirar 4? he gave the patrician's horse with 
the saddle and whatever else was on it such as gold and silver jewellery, jewels and 
gems. Dirar 4> took it to his sister, the lady Khawlah, who took the gems out and 
distributed them amongst the Muslim women, with a single gem being worth quite a 

The captives, including the patrician's daughter, were brought in front of Abu 
'Ubaydah <&. 

Ibn Ja 'far <$> : I want her. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : I will have to ask 'Umar for permission. 



He wrote to 'Umar .& who wrote back, "She is for him." Ibn Ja'far 4fe took his new 
slave-girl. She remained with him for a long time and was an expert cook who 
specialised in Persian and Roman cuisine. She remained with him until the reign of 
Yazid who, upon hearing of her, requested to receive her as a gift. Ibn Ja'far 4» gave 
her to him where she remained. 

'Amir bin Rabi'ah narrates: 

I received from the booty of the monastery's market, brocade with Roman pictures 
thereon. Every cloth had a beautiful picture of Isa and Maryam SSB. I took the 
brocade to Yaman where I sold some for a great price. 'Umar 4fc wrote to me while I 
was with Abu 'Ubaydah «&, "O my nephew, send many of these brocades to me so 
that they can be spent (on the poor)." 

13) Drinking wine 

It is narrated that when the Muslims returned with the booty, Abu 'Ubaydah # wrote 
to 'Umar <& to inform him of the victory and booty of Abu al-Quds. He praised, 
commended and thanked Khalid & and reported what he had said (when he left for 
the expedition). He also requested the Khalifah to write to Khalid 4fe to obtain his 
opinion on attacking either Heraclius or Baytul Muqaddas and informed him that 
some Muslims had taken to drinking wine. 

'Asim bin Thu-vab al-'Amiri wbo had participated in the conquest of Damascus 

Some of the Yamani bedouins had taken to drinking wine and considered it to be 
good. The commander, Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe opposed this. One of the bedouins, I think 
it was Suraqah bin 'Amir, said, "O Muslims, abandon wine, for it destroys the 
senses and earns sins. Rasulullah S has not only cursed the drinker of wine, but even 
the transporter and the one to whom it is carried." 

Usamah bin Zayd al-Laythi narrates fom az-Zuhri who narrates from Humayd 
bin 'Abdirahman bin 'Awf al-Ghifari: 

I was with Abu 'Ubaydah in Syria. He wrote to 'Umar <& to inform him of the 
conquest of Syria and also wrote, "The Muslims are drinking wine and trifle with the 
prescribed punishment." 


Part 2: Hims 

I arrived in al-Madinah and found 'Umar & sitting in the Masjid of Rasulullah % 
with some Sahabah & who were speaking amongst themselves. Amongst them were 
'Uthman, 'Ali and 'Abdurahman bin 'Awf. I handed the letter over to 'Umar <&. He 
read it, started thinking for a while and then said, "Verily Rasulullah S lashed the 
drinker of wine." 

Then he asked 'Ali <$>, "What is your opinion on that?" 

'Ali <& said, "When the drinker becomes drunk, he becomes delirious and when he 
becomes delirious he makes things up." 

('Ali 4b meant that although the exact punishment for drinking wine had not been 
specified by Rasulullah &, its punishment should at least equal that of slander, i.e. 
eighty lashes especially since the drunkard is apt to slander - translator 's note.) 

So 'Umar ^ wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah &, "Whoever drinks wine should be lashed 
eighty times. I swear that severity and poverty will be good for them. Their duty is 
to fear Allah, to worship Him, to believe in Him and be grateful unto Him. Inflict the 
prescribed punishment on whoever has returned to drinking." 

When 'Umar's 4t> letter arrived, Abu 'Ubaydah & had it announced, "Whoever is 
liable for punishment for drinking wine should present themselves for lashing and 
repent unto Allah." 

Many came forward and were lashed. 

14) March against Hims and Antioch 

Abu 'Ubaydah & said, "I have resolved to go to Antioch and strike at the heart of the 
Roman Empire. Perhaps Allah will grant us victory." The Muslims said, "Go 
wherever you please, for we will follow you and fight your enemies." He rejoiced at 
their words and said, "Prepare to travel. I am taking you to Aleppo and after 
conquering it, we will go to Antioch." 

The Muslims hastened in their preparations. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& finished all his tasks 
and ordered Khalid & to the front of the army. He was to lead the vanguard bearing 
the Flag of the Eagle which Abu Bakr .$> had tied. Khalid &> went with the vanguard 
and took Dirar &>, Rafi' bin 'Umayrah and Musayyib bin Najiyah al-Fazari with him. 
They were followed by others. 500 men under Safwan bin 'Amir as-Sulami were left 
at Damascus while Abu 'Ubaydah & left with the Muslims, including the Yamanis 
and tribes of Mudar. 



Abu 'Ubaydah <& took the road to al-Baqa' and al-Labuwah. Upon reaching there, he 
despatched Khalid •& to Hims, saying, "O Abu Sulayman, go with the blessings and 
help of Allah. Descend upon the people and attack al-'Awasim and Qinsarin while I 
go to Ba'labakk. Perhaps Allah will make matters easy for us and we will be 
victorious." He then bade him farewell. 

Khalid «$> went with his men to Hims, while Abu 'Ubaydah 4» headed towards 
Ba'labakk. The patrician of Jusiyah arrived with many gifts and proposed a one-year 
truce with the Muslims and said, "If you conquer Ba'labakk then I present myself to 
you and will not oppose a single word of yours." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4*> agreed to his terms demanding 4,000 dirham and 500 robes of 

15) The story of Jabalah bin al-Ayham 

After concluding the treaty, Abu 'Ubaydah 4» headed for Ba'labakk and had not 
covered much distance from al-Labuwah when a noble horseman appeared. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4& recognised him to be Usamah bin Zayd at-Tai and so he called out, "O 
Usamah, from where do you come?" 

Usamah : From al-Madinah. 

He then handed over a letter from 'Umar &. Abu 'Ubaydah 4$> opened it. It read as 
follows : 

La ildha illalldh Muhammad Rasululldh. 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : The slave of Allah, 'Umar, the Commander of the 

To : The Trustworthy One of the Ummah 

Saldm 'Alayka 

I praise Allah besides whom there is no other deity and convey 
salutations upon his Prophet Muhammad. 


Part 2: Hims 

There is no averting predestination and what Allah has decreed. 
He who has been written down as a disbeliever on the Preserved 
Tablet (in Heaven) will not get Faith. In this light Jabalah bin 
al-Ayham al-Ghassdni came to us with his cousins and chiefs of 
his people. We extended our hospitality to them and were good 
to them. They embraced Islam at my hands and I was pleased 
that Allah would strengthen Islam and the Muslims with them, 
but I did not have knowledge of the future. We went to Makkah 

- may Allah Most High protect her and preserve her greatness 

- to perform the Hajj. Jabalah was circling the Ka 'bah when 
a man ofFazdrah tramped on his cloth which fell off him. He 
turned to the Fazdri and said, "Be destroyed! You have exposed 
me in Allah s Sacred Masjid. " The Fazdri said, "By Allah! It 
was not deliberate. " Jabalah bin al-Ayham struck him so hard 
that his nose and all four incisors broke. 

The Fazdri came to me for assistance against Jabalah, so I 
summoned him and said to him, "What made you strike your 
Muslim brother, breaking his nose and four incisors? " Jabalah 
said, "He tramped on my cloth which became loose. By Allah! 
Were it not for the sacredness of the Ka 'bah I would have killed 
him. " I said, "You have confessed against yourself. So either he 
forgives you or retaliates against you. " Jabalah retorted, "He 
will take retaliation from me when I am a king and he is a 
worthless commoner? " I replied, "You are both equal in Islam. 
You have no superiority over him except if you are more pious. " 
Jabalah requested to be given a chance until the next day, so I 
asked the Fazdri, "Will you leave him until tomorrow? " 

He agreed, but during the night Jabalah and his cousins 
mounted their horses and fled to the dog of the sinners in Syria 
(Heraclius). I hope that Allah will bring him into your hands. 



Invade Hints and go no further. If they offer to surrender, then 
accept, otherwise fight them. Send a spy to Antioch and be on 
your guard against the Christian 'Arabs. 

Peace, Allah 's mercy and blessings be upon you and all the 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4° read the letter once softly and then again publicly and then turned 
to Hims. Khalid * preceded him with a third of the army and reached Hims on a 
Friday of Shawwal 14 Hijri. 

16) Khalid's 4> raid 

Heraclius's governor, Lacita had died just before the arrival of Khalid & and the 
Muslims. The Christians therefore gathered in their great cathedral where their elder 
said, "Caesar's governor has died and he does not know about the arrival of these 
'Arabs. They have now invaded us as we thought they would, but we expected them 
to only invade us after conquering Jusiyah and Ba'labakk. Even if you write to 
Caesar to send us a new governor with an army, the 'Arabs will never let any army 
come to you let alone actually arrive here. Also, you do not have enough food to 
survive a siege." 

Christians : What should we do, sir? 

Elder : Seek terms with them and agree to whatever they demand and say to them, 
"We will surrender to you if you conquer Qinsarin and Aleppo and defeat Caesar's 
army." Then when they turn away from us we will request Caesar to send us a huge 
army and governor of his choice and supply us with food and equipment. Thereafter 
we can fight them. 

They approved of this plan and said, "Your opinion and plan is excellent. We will act 
upon that." 

The patrician sent a highly respected priest to Abu 'Ubaydah 4& to conclude a truce 
with him. The priest spoke to him as instructed by the patrician, that is, that the 
Muslims should depart for Aleppo, al-'Awasim and Antioch. Abu 'Ubaydah 4» 
agreed upon receiving a payment of 10,000 Dinar and 200 robes of brocade and 
concluded a one-year cease-fire commencing from Thul-Oa'dah until the next 
Shawwal 15 Hijri. After the treaty was concluded, the traders came out to buy and 
sell with the Muslims. They found the 'Arabs to be generous and earned much profit. 


Part 2: Hims 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& called Khalid <&. Giving him a squadron of 4,000 cavalry of 
Lakhm, Jutham, Tayy, NabMn, Kahlan, Kindah and Khawlan, he said, "O Abu 
Sulayman! Take this squadron on raiding expeditions and seek out their leaders, 
especially those of Aleppo. Attack the lands of al-'Awasim and then return. Send 
your spy forward to see if they have anyone special in charge of the defence or not." 

Khalid 4& took the flag and recited the following poem in front of his squadron : 

/ swear by the Great King that I have taken this banner 

And that by carrying it I am the leader. 

Because I am the chief of Makhzum 's sons, 

And also am amongst Noble Ahmad 's companions. 

In setting out it is like a reckless lion that I behave 

O Allah! It is fighting the Romans that I do crave. 

Khalid 4» continued until he came to Shayzar and halted at the river-bend. He called 
Musab bin Muharib al-Yashkuri, gave him 500 horsemen and ordered him to raid al- 
'Awasim and Qinsarin. Khalid &> went forth to Kafr Tab, al-Marah and Dayr Sam' an. 
They raided the countryside and villages in all directions seizing booty and captives 
which they brought to Khalid & who returned with them to Abu 'Ubaydah 4i. He 
was very pleased to see all that he had brought. 

17) Conquest by kindness 

A mass of people began arriving afterwards, reciting, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu 
Akbari" and salutations upon Rasulullah %. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& : Who are they, O Abu Sulayman? 

Khalid 4b : This is Musab bin Muharib al-Yashkuri. I had given him command over 
500 horsemen of his tribe and the Yamanis. They raided al-'Awasim and Qinsarin and 
have now brought booty, captives and wealth. 



Abu 'Ubaydah 4& turned to them and saw the great herd of cattle and flock of sheep 
and Turkish horses mounted by men, women and children. They were noisy with 
their wailing. Abu 'Ubaydah went to them and saw that the men were tied up and 
weeping over their families, looted wealth, and destroyed homes. He said to the 
translator, "Say to them - why do you weep? Why do you not embrace Islam. Why 
did you not seek agreements of safety for your lives and wealth?" 

The translator said this to them and they (numbering about 400) replied, "O 
commander, we were very far from you. Although your news reached us, we did not 
think that you would reach us. We had no further knowledge until your men came 
and looted our wealth and children and dragged us away in these ropes as you can 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» : We will be kind to you and free you. We will return your wealth 
and families. Will you then accept our rule and pay Jizyah and land-tax? 

Captives : If you do this, we will obey whatever conditions you impose. 

He turned to the Muslims and said, "I feel that they should be granted safety and that 
their wealth and families be returned unto them. They will remain inhabiting their 
towns and lands as our subjects and pay us Jizyah and land-tax. What is your 
opinion, for I do not decide any matter without consulting you." 

Muslims : Your opinion is good for the Muslims, O commander. 

A fine of four dinars was imposed on each captive and 'Umar & was informed about 
it. Their wealth and children were returned to them and they were left to stay in their 
lands. A document was compiled, listing their names and he ordered them to return 
to their lands. When they returned they informed their neighbours of the good nature 
of the 'Arabs and of the good treatment they had received from them and said, "We 
thought that they would kill us and enslave our children, but they had mercy upon us 
and let us stay in our homes upon payment of Jizyah and land-tax." In that manner 
other Romans came to Abu 'Ubaydah <$> seeking safety from the Muslims upon 
payment of the Jizyah and land-tax. 

18) Luke's plan 

The people of Qinsarin heard that Abu 'Ubaydah 4» granted an agreement of safety 
to whoever sought it from him. They all agreed to request his safety and to quietly 
send an envoy without their governor knowing about it. 


Part 2: Hims 

Luke, the governor of Qinsarin and al-'Awasim, was amongst the fierce warrior 
patricians. The people of Qinsarin were terrified of him. He was equal to the ruler of 
Aleppo in strength and armies. Heraclius had summoned both, but they replied, "O 
Caesar, we cannot abandon our lands without a violent fight." Heraclius 
appreciated this and promised to send them a massive army upon which they were 
now waiting. Each already had a cavalry of 10,000 men, except that the two 
cavalries were not gathered at a single place. 

When Luke discovered the people's intention of surrendering, he became intensely 
furious. He devised a scheme against them and summoned them. 

Luke : O Romans, what should I do with these 'Arabs who are almost upon you? 
They are heading towards us, conquering our region just as they have already 
conquered most of Syria. 

Romans : O Sir, we have heard that they are extremely trustworthy and fulfil their 
agreements. Most of the land has surrendered to them due to their justice. Whoever 
fought against them was defeated and their wives and children enslaved. However, 
whoever surrendered was allowed to stay safe in their lands, safe from their power. 
We wish to surrender to save our lives and wealth. 

Luke : You have rendered the correct and blameless opinion, for these 'Arabs are 
victorious against whomsoever fights against them, but in the meantime I will seek 
a one-year cease-fire with them and then when they are complacent, we will get 
reinforcements from Caesar Heraclius and wipe them out to the last man. 

Romans : Do what is for the best. 

They agreed to the truce he proposed, but in everyone's heart there was deception. 
Luke then summoned the priest, Stacher, who was a scholar of both Christianity and 
Judaism. He was fluent, strong-hearted and knew both Arabic and Greek. Luke said 
to him, "O Father, go to the 'Arabs and ask them for a one-year truce so we can 
deceive the people." 

He then wrote a letter to Abu 'Ubaydah <$> and began the letter with his words of 

O 'Arabs! Our city is heavily fortified and has abundant 
supplies and manpower. Were you to come against us you would 
not be able to overcome us even in 100 years. Caesar Heraclius 
is collecting reinforcements against you from as far as Great 



Rumiyah and the Gulf. We are sending an envoy to you to make 
a one-year truce with you so that we can see in whose hands the 
landfalls. We also desire that border markings be established 
between you and us, marking off the border of Qinsarin and al- 
'Awdsim so that when the 'Arabs go on their raids, our lands 
will be clearly marked off. We offer this truce in secret, for if 
Heraclius were to find out he would kill us. (Greetings). 

Then he gave the priest a resplendant robe, a mule from amongst his steeds and ten 

19) The truce 

The priest went to Hims. There he saw Abu 'Ubaydah * leading the Muslims in 
Salatul ' Asr. He stood and stared, amazed at the sight. After the completion of the 
Salah, the Muslims saw him and so they rushed to him and asked, "Who are you? 
Where do you come from?" 

He replied, "I am a messenger with a letter." 

They took him to Abu 'Ubaydah &, whom he wanted to bow down to, but Abu 
'Ubaydah .& forbade him and said, "We are the slaves of Allah, Most Honourable and 
Majestic. Some will be fortunate and some wretched." 

As for those who are wretched, they will be in the Fire, sighing 

in a high and low tone. They will dwell therein for as long as 

the Heavens and Earth endure. [11:106-7] 

The priest was astounded and could give no reply, astonished at what Abu 'Ubaydah 
4fe had said. Khalid 4& called out to him, "What do you want and whose messenger 
are you?" 


Part 2: Hims 

Priest : Are you the commander? 

Khdlid & (pointing at Abu 'Ubaydah) : No, he is. 

Priest : I am the messenger of the governor of Qinsarin and al-'Awasim. 

He took out the letter and handed it over to Abu 'Ubaydah * who read it out to the 

When Khalid & heard the description of the city, the quantity of their supplies and 
men, and their threat of Heraclius's reinforcements, he shook his head and said to 
Abu 'Ubaydah <&, "By Him who helps us and made us from amongst the Ummah of 
Muhammad #, the pure one, this letter is from such a man who does not desire 
peace, but war." 

Turning to the priest, he said, "Your people wish to deceive us until your master's 
armies arrive. As soon as you see them arriving, you will repudiate the treaty and will 
be the first to fight us. Then if you see us victorious, you will run away to that 
despot, Heraclius. If you really intend to make a truce, then we promise you a one- 
year truce. If any army comes to you during the truce, we will fight it. However, 
whoever remains in the city and does not come out to fight with the army will be 
considered to be at peace with us and we will not interfere with him." 

Priest : We accept. Please put it in writing for us. 

After Abu 'Ubaydah 4& wrote out the document, the priest said, "O commander, our 
land borders that of the prince of Aleppo. We wish for markings to be set up so that 
when your men go on raids they will not trespass our lands." 

Abu 'Ubaydah & was pleased and said, "I will send men to mark off the border for 

Priest : We do not need any of you. We will manufacture a pillar with the statue of 
Heraclius thereon and erect it. When your men see it they should not trespass. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe : Do that. 

He handed over the document and announced to the Muslims, "Whoever sees the 
pillars should not trespass, but should only confine his raids to the territory of 
Aleppo. Whoever has heard this announcement should inform any absentees." 



The priest returned to Luke and, telling him what transpired, handed him the 
document. Luke rejoiced and planned to erect a huge pillar with a statue of Caesar 
Heraclius sitting on his Imperial throne on it. 

The Muslim horsemen would raid to the farthest extents of Aleppo, al-' Amq and 
Antioch, but would desist from the borders of Qinsarin and al-'Awasim. 

'Umar bin 'Abdillah narrates from Salim bin Qays who narrates from his 
ancestor, Sa'd bin 'Ubadah 4h: 

The Muslims agreed to the truce with the people of Qinsarin and al-'Awasim upon 
receiving payment of 4,000 Imperial dinar, 100 Uqiyah (12.2 kg) of silver, 1,000 
robes of Aleppo and 1,000 Wasaq (192.7 t) of food. 

20) The statue 

'Amir narrates: 

We were out raiding when we saw the pillar with Caesar Heraclius's statue thereon. 
We circled the pillar with our horses going back and forth to inspect it. Abu Jandalah 
was carrying a long spear in his hand with which he pierced the statue's eyes when 
his horse suddenly trotted forward without his command. There were some Romans 
at the statue. They were the slaves of the governor of Qinsarin sent to guard the 
pillar. They returned and informed him. He was enraged. He presented a golden cross 
to one of his men, putting him in charge of 1,000 Christian horsemen who wore 
Roman brocade and sword-belts. Then ordering Stacher to go with them, he said, 
"Tell the commander of the 'Arabs - You have betrayed us and have not fulfilled your 
duty unto us. He who betrays will be brought to the ground." 

The priest took the cross and went to Abu 'Ubaydah <&. When the Muslims saw the 
raised cross they rushed to him and lowered the cross. Abu 'Ubaydah & then came 
out and asked, "Who are you?" 

Priest : I am Qinsarin's governor's messenger to you. He says that you have been 
treacherous and broken the treaty between us. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc : How have we broken it? 

Priest : By piercing the eyes of Caesar's statue. 

Part 2: Hims 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : I swear that I know nothing of that. O Muslims, whoever pierced 
the statue's eyes should inform us. 

Muslims : O commander, Abu Jandalah and Sahl bin 'Amr did it accidently. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : They did it unintentionally. What will now satisfy you against us? 

Christians : We will not be satisfied until we have gouged out the eyes of your king. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : I present myself. Do unto me as was done to your statue. 

Christians : No! We want your great king who rules all the 'Arabs. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> : The Khalifah's eye will be safe from that. 

The Muslims were furious at what the Christians said regarding 'Umar's ^ eye and 
would have killed them had Abu 'Ubaydah * not prevented them. They said, "O 
commander! We are under our leader and will willingly sacrifice ourselves for him. 
We will take out our eyes in place of his." 

Priest : Do not pierce 'Umar's eyes, nor yours. Instead, we will make a statue of the 
commander on the pillar and do to it as you did to our Caesar's picture. 

Muslims : We did it unintentionally while you are doing this intentionally. 

Abu 'Ubaydah .&> : Restrain yourselves. If they will be satisfied with merely my 
image then you have already accepted (greater than that). Let them not say that we 
had an agreement with them and then betrayed them. These are a people without 
integrity or intelligence. 

He accepted their proposal so they made a statue of Abu 'Ubaydah <$> with glass eyes. 
They placed it on the pillar. One of their horsemen angrily came and pierced it. The 
priest then returned to inform Luke who addressed his people, "These people get 
what they want in this manner." 

21) 'Umar's & letter 

Abu 'Ubaydah &> continued raiding in all directions from Hims awaiting the expiry 
of the cease-fire. He delayed in sending any information to 'Umar 4» who received 
neither letter nor news on any conquests. 'Umar <$> was displeased and began to 
suspect that he was becoming lax in Jihad, so he wrote the following letter to him: 



In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : The slave of Allah, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, the 
Commander of the Believers 

To : The Trustworthy One of the Ummah, Abu 'Ubaydah 'Amir 
bin al-Jarrdh 

Saldm 'alayk 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and convey 
salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. I order you to fear 
Allah in both secret and open. I warn you against sinning 
against Allah Who is Most Honourable and Magnificent. I warn 
you and absolutely forbid you from being amongst those about 
whom Allah has stated : 

Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your 

kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in 

which you fear a decline and the dwellings in which you 

delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and 

Jihad in His Path, then wait until Allah brings about His 

decision (of punishment). And Allah guides not the disobedient 

ones. [9:24] 

Salutations be upon the Seal of all Prophets and Leader of all 
the Messengers. All praise belongs to Allah, the Rabb of all the 


Part 2: Hims 

Upon receiving the letter, Abu 'Ubaydah 4b read it out to the Muslims who realised 
that 'Umar & was encouraging them to go and fight. Abu 'Ubaydah 4b regretted 
making the truce with Qinsarin and every single Muslim wept on hearing the 
contents of the letter and said, "O commander, what prevents you from waging 
Jihad? Leave the people of Shayzar* and Qinsarin and take us against Aleppo and 
Antioch. Perhaps Allah will conquer them through us. The truce is nearly over, only 
a short while remains. Nothing remains forever except the Lofty King. 

(*An error has occured in this narration. The truce was with al- 'Awasim, not Shayzar 
- translator 's note.) 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b resolved to go against Aleppo. He tied one flag for Sahl bin ' Amr 
and another for Mus'ab bin Muharib al-Yashkuri and ordered 'Iyad bin Ghanim to 
lead the vanguard, followed by Khalid &. Abu 'Ubaydah <$> advanced until he 
reached ar-Rashin, which surrendered. Arriving at Hamah, he saw the population 
coming out. The priests led them while the monks raised the Bible aloft. He asked 
them, "What do you want?" They replied, "We wish to surrender and live under your 
rule and protection for you people are most beloved unto us." 

He wrote out the document and left his representatives behind. 

Upon reaching Shayzar, the people welcomed him and surrendered. 

Abii 'Ubaydah 4b : Have you heard any news of the despot Heraclius? 

Shayzaris : We have only heard that the governor of Qinsarin has written to him for 
reinforcements. So he sent Jabalah bin al-Ayham al-Ghassani and the Christian 
'Arabs together with the governor of Amorium commanding 10,000 cavalry. They 
are now at the Iron Bridge, so beware, O commander. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : Allah suffices us and is the best disposer of affairs. 

He remained at Shayzar, sometimes thinking of attacking Aleppo and sometimes 
Antioch. He gathered the Muslim generals and said, "O people, I have been informed 
that the governor of Qinsarin has broken the treaty by sending for reinforcements 
from Heraclius. Heraclius has sent Jabalah bin al-Ayham with the Christian 'Arabs 
and the governor of Amorium with 10,000 cavalry. They are now at the Iron Bridge. 
What do you say in this matter?" . 

Generals : O commander, leave Qinsarin and al-'Awasim and take us to Aleppo and 



Abu 'Ubaydah <& : Then get your gear. May Allah have mercy on you. 

Less than a month remained for the truce between the Muslims and Qinsarin to 
expire, so Abu 'Ubaydah 4s» waited for the expiry eagerly. 

22) Slaves and firewood 

It was discovered that the 'Arabs' slaves were cutting olive-, pomegranate- and other 
fruit-bearing trees. Abu 'Ubaydah 4j» became angry and asked them, "What is this 

Slaves : O commander, the firewood trees are far off while these are near. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» : I resolve to punish whoever cuts a fruit-bearing tree, whether he 
is a freeman or slave. 

Thereafter they would fetch firewood from far off places. 

Sa'id bin 'Amir <& narrates: 

I had with me an excellent slave called Muhji' who had participated with me in all 
the battles. He was brave-hearted and when he went on a raid or in search of firewood 
he would go far out. 

One day he went in search of firewood with such slaves who had participated in the 
battles. For a long time I had no news of him, so I mounted my horse to go in search 
of him. Suddenly I came across the man with blood flowing down his face, soaking 
his entire body. He was hardly able to take a single step without almost falling flat 
on his face. 

I dismounted to go to him and said, "What has happened to you?" 

He said, "Death and destruction, O my master." 

I said, "Tell me what has happened, O son of a black man?" 

However, he could not remain standing and fell flat on his face. 

I sprinkled water on his face. He calmed down and said, "O master, save yourself 
before they do to you what they have done to me." 

I asked him, "Who did this to you?" 


Part 2: Hints 

He answered, "O master, I went out with a group of slaves to gather firewood. We 
went deep into the land when we came across a cavalry of about 1,000 horsemen, all 
of them 'Arabs with gold and silver crosses around their necks and spears in their 
hands. When they spotted us they rushed to us and circled around us intending to kill 
us. I said, 'Attack them! ' The slaves said to me, 'Woe unto you! Who can fight when 
we have no power against these men and horses. We have no choice but to offer 
ourselves in captivity, for that is lighter than fighting.' I said, 'By Allah, never! I will 
never hand myself over without putting up a fight.' When they saw my resolution, 
they followed me and we fought the horsemen. They killed ten of us. As for me, I 
was covered with wounds until I fell down on my face. They left me in the state that 
you now see me in." 

23) Dialogue with Jabalah 

Sa'ld bin 'Amir al-Ansari <& narrates: 

By Allah! What happened to the slaves greatly depressed me. I put the slave behind 
me on the horse and retraced my steps when suddenly horses came from behind me 
like a blowing wind or like water bursting out from a tight pipe. They were 
horsemen of the tribe of Ghassan, carrying long spears and saying, "We are the 
Christian warrior-monks of Ghassan." 

I called out, "I am from amongst the Sahabah of Muhammad S, the Chosen One." 

Some of them rushed towards me to kill me with their swords, so I shouted, "Woe 
unto you! Do you kill a man of your own nation?" They asked, "From which people 
are you?" 

"From the noble tribe of al-Khazraj," I replied. 

They exclaimed, "By Christ! You are wanted by our king, Jabalah bin al-Ayham," 
and withheld their swords. 

I asked, "From where does Jabalah know me that he now looks for me?" 

Ghassan : He seeks any Yamani man from the Ansar of Muhammad bin ' Abdillah. 
Come with us voluntarily or we will force you. 

(The Aws and Khazraj are Yamani in origin - translator 's note). 



I went with them until I came across a huge army with raised flags and crosses. They 
took me to Jabalah's tent. He was wearing Roman brocade and sitting on a reddish - 
golden throne. On his head were netted pearls and around his neck was a cross with 
sapphires in it. 

As I stood in front of him, he raised his head and said, "From which 'Arab nation are 

Sa 'id 4& : I am of the Yamani people. 

Jabalah : To which tribe do you belong to? 

Sa 'id * : I am of the descendants of Harithah bin Tha'labah bin 'Amr bin 'Amir bin 
Harithah bin Tha'labah bin Imra-il Qays bin 'Abdillah bin al-Azwar bin 'Awf bin 
Malik bin Kahlan bin Saba. 

Jabalah : To which branch are you connected to? 

Sa 'id * : I am of al-Khazraj bin Harithah and am of the Ansar of Muhammad bin 
'Abdillah, salutations and peace be upon him. 

Jabalah : I am Jabalah bin al-Ayham who left Islam because 'Umar bin al-Khattab 
would not have someone like me as a helper for this Din. He wanted to punish me 
for the sake of a lowly slave whereas / am a Yamani king and chief of Ghassan! 

Sa 'id *> : O Jabalah, verily Allah's right takes precedence over your right. Our Din 
is not maintained except through truth and justice. When 'Umar acts in obedience to 
Allah then he does not fear the words of those who blame and rebuke. 

Jabalah : What is your name? 

Sa 'id 4i> : Sa'id bin 'Amir al-Ansari. 

Jabalah : Sit down, O Sa'id. 

So I (Sa'id 4s>) sat down. 

Jabalah : Do you have any knowledge of Hassan bin Thabit? 

Sa'id ^ : He is the poet of Rasulullah ft who said to him, "You are Hassan and your 
tongue is a sword." It was not long ago that he had invited me to a gathering of his, 
wherein he ordered his slave-girl to recite a poem about you. Then we came out to 
Syria and that was the last I heard of him. 


Part 2: Hims 

Jabalah : Will you teach me that poem? 

Sa 'id 4> ■ Certainly. 

Then he presented me with a Roman linen robe and said, "I have given you this linen 
to wear and not for you to forbid it upon yourself. In the name of 'Arab solidarity, 
what were you doing in that place where you were captured?" 

Sa 'id & : Honesty is man's best tool. I am of Abu 'Ubaydah's 4* men. We are 
intending to go to Aleppo and Antioch. 

Jabalah : Know that Caesar has sent me and the patrician who is the governor of 
Amorium to aid the governor of Qinsarin. He has deceived you with the truce. We 
are waiting for him to meet us here. Return to Abu 'Ubaydah and warn him about our 
swords. He should return from where he came from and not interfere with 
Heraclius's realm for soon whatever you control of Syria will be seized from you. 

24) Khalid & goes against Luke 

I mounted my horse placing my slave behind me and returned to the camp. The 
Muslims hurried towards me and said, "Where were you, Ibn 'Amir?" 

I went to the general's tent where I reported to him about Jabalah. 

Abu 'Ubaydah •&: Allah has saved you by means of your mentioning Hassan bin 
Thabit al-Ansari. 

Then he gathered the Sahabah & for consultation. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : O people, what is your opinion on this patrician to whom we have 
been faithful but who has deceived us? 

Khalid 4b: The tyrant will be destroyed. If he deceives then Allah is going to trap him. 
Soon we will scheme a scheme greater than his. I am taking ten Sahabah of 
Rasulullah ® to go and meet him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : O Abu Sulayman, you are the right man for this and every 
difficult task. Take whichever Sahabah you like. 

Khalid 4b : Where are Tyad bin Ghanim al-Ash'ari, 'Amr bin Sa'id, Mus'ab bin 
Muharib al-Yashkuri, Abu Jandalah bin Sa'id al-Makhzumi, Sahl bin 'Amr al-Amiri, 
Rati' bin 'Umayrah at-Tai, al-Musayyib bin Najiyah, Sa'id bin 'Amir al-Ansari, 



'Amr bin Ma'dikarab az-Zubaydi, 'Asim bin 'Amr al-Qaysi and 'Abdurahman bin 
Abi Bakr? 

They all answered, "We are at your service." 

Dirar <& was absent due to an eye disease. 

Khalid & called out, "Come." and was already clad in the armour of Musaylamah al- 
Ka thth ab which he had taken from him at the Battle of Yamamah. He wore his 
battle-gear, mounted his horse and called out to his slave, Hammam, "Come with me 
to see amazing things." 

As they all left, KMlid * asked, "O Sa'id, did Jabalah tell you from where the 
governor of Qinsarin will be coming? 

Sa 'id 4s> : Yes, Abu Sulayman, he told me. 

Khalid 4* : Take us to Jabalah's road. When the patrician comes, we will deceive him 
just as he deceived us and destroy him and all those with him. 

Sa'id 4k went in front of them to guide them. They travelled hard that night in the 
direction of the Christian army. When they came close to their fires and heard their 
voices, Sa'id <& turned in the direction of the patrician's road and hid with his 
companions. By dawn nobody pitched up, so Khalid & led them in Salatul Fajr in 
their place of ambush. While they were there, they saw the armies of Jabalah and the 
governor of Amorium heading towards al-'Awasim and Qinsarin. 

So the Muslims said to Khalid 4&>, "O Abu Sulayman, do you not see that this army 
is equal to thorns and trees in number?" 

He replied, "Their numbers will be of no avail to them when we have Allah with us. 
Go and mix with them as if you are part of their army until we can get to the 
governor of Qinsarin and then Allah will do and choose as He wills." 

So they mixed with the Christians, but remained together. 

25) Luke captured 

Rail' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

We crossed the ceasefire line into al-'Awasim and Qinsarin and saw the patrician 
coming to welcome us (the Christian army). He came out with a cross in front of him 


Part 2: Hims 

and priests and monks walking ahead, all close to each other, reciting from the Bible 
and raising their voices with their words of Disbelief. 

He came to greet Jabalah and found the Sahabah <& in front of him. Khalid <& faced 
him together with the other Sahabah *& around him. Not knowing who they were, he 
said, "Christ grant you peace. May the Cross grant you long lives!" 

Khalid 4» retorted, "Woe unto you, we are not cross-worshippers. We are Sahabah of 
Rasulullah S, Muhammad, the beloved of Allah." He drew his sword proclaiming, 
"There is no deity except Allah alone. I am Khalid bin al-Walid. I am the Makhzumi 
Sahabi of Rasulullah S." 

He then hit the patrician and pulled him out of his saddle. 

The Sahabah & advanced, drawing their swords against his men. A tumult was 
raised. The Christians called out their words of Disbelief and the Muslims 
proclaimed the Oneness of Allah. Jabalah and the patrician of Amorium heard the 
Muslims calling out, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" and felt uneasy. The 
Christians saw the naked swords and pointed spears and so rushed to surround the 
Muslims from all sides. Khalid 4» examined the situation that had befallen him and 
his men. Luke was still being held prisoner, and Khalid feared that he would escape 
or start fighting anew before he had a chance to kill him. He therefore raised his 
sword to kill him, but saw him smiling. 

Khalid 4» : Woe unto you! What makes you laugh? 

Luke : You and your men are already dead but you still think of killing me. If you 
spare me it will be better for you. 

So Khalid 4& spared him and shouted, "O Sahabah of Rasulullah II, surround me to 
defend me. Be patient at what befalls us. Do not be awed by the numbers that 
surround you, for the worst that they can do to you is kill you. Death in the Path of 
Allah is in fact Khalid's desire. By Allah! I have presented my life over and over 
again hoping to be blessed with martyrdom. May Allah have mercy upon you. Know 
that our proof is clear and leads to Allah as if we have already reached the Rabb and 
live in an abode whose inhabitants do not die." 

L^. pA L. j (_~*aj LfrS jv^-^J a 



Tiredness touches them not therein and nor are they expelled 
therefrom. [15:48] 

The Sahabah & encircled him. 'Abdurahman bin AM Bakr •& was on his right, Rafi' 
bin 'Umayrah on his left, his slave, Hamman behind him and the rest forming an 
outer circle. He handed Luke over to Hamman and said to him, "Keep him at your 
side and do not leave your place. Receive glad tidings of Help from Allah, the Most 
Honourable and Magnificent." 

The Christian 'Arabs then advanced against the Muslims. Jabalah, wearing a cross 
around his neck, led them. The cross was golden and attached to a jewelled chain. He 
wore chain-mail above a robe of embroidered brocade and a gold helmet topped with 
a jewelled cross. He was carrying a long spear, the tip of which shone like a candle. 
The governor of Amorium came like a solid tower surrounded by the Christians of 
Mudlijah and they surrounded the Muslims. When he saw that Khalid &> had 
captured Luke, he feared that Khalid <*> might kill him, so he said to Jabalah, "By 
Christ! These 'Arabs are all devils. Do you not see that that 'Arab has only about ten 
men and is completely surrounded by our army yet they are not concerned in any 
way. They have our man captured and he cannot escape. I fear that they will kill him 
whereas Heraclius Caesar greatly venerates him. So go to him and tell him that he 
should free Luke and hand him over to us in exchange for their lives. However, once 
they have handed him over we will attack them and kill them to the last man." 

26) Khalid £> and Jabalah 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

We were surrounding Khalid 4» and were in turn surrounded by the Romans and 
Christian 'Arabs. Their numbers did not concern us because we placed our reliance 
upon Allah. Jabalah appeared, calling out in a loud voice, "Who amongst you are of 
the well-known Sahabah of Muhammad and who amongst you are from the 
subservient 'Arabs? Tell us before we destroy you." 

Khalid 4» (going forward) : We are of the Sahabah of the Chosen Muhammad S 
known as the People of the Qiblah, Islam, nobility and generosity. As for your 
question regarding our lineage, we are from various tribes. Allah has united us on a 
single declaration and that is, "There is no deity but Allah. Muhammad is the 
Messenger of Allah.'"May Allah increase his status. 


Part 2: Hints 

Jabalah (angry) : You boy\ You are the commander of these 'Arabs? 

Khalid #:Iam not their commander, but their brother-in-Islam and they are my 
Believing brothers. 

Jabalah : Who are you from amongst the Sahabah of Muhammad bin 'Abdillah? 

Khalid & : I am known as the ram of Banu Makhzum. I am Khalid bin al-Walid, the 
Sahabi of Rasulullah % and this man on my right is 'Abdurahman son of Abu Bakr 
as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him. On my left is of the nobility of Tayy of 
Yaman, Rafi' bin 'Umayrah, my son-in-law and "heart. This is because I have 
chosen from every tribe their famous and brave heroes, so do not think of killing us 
nor become arrogant about your numbers for in battle we regard you as but little birds 
hiding in their nest. The hunter comes across them and casts his net upon them so 
that none except the distinguished one escapes. 

Jabalah (growing even more angry) : Soon you will see that your words against us 
are mere prattle when our spear-points are rotating around you and you and your men 
are left as food for the beasts of this jungle who will rip you apart morning and 

Khalid &: That is a mere trifle to us, nothing great. But who are you, O 'Arab, who 
worships the Cross? 

Jabalah : I am Chief of Banu Ghassan, a king of Hamdan, King of Ghassan and 
wearer of their crown. I am Jabalah bin al-Ayham. 

Khalid 4& : You are the one who left Islam and chose misguidance over guidance and 
walked the path of error and thus became misguided and astray. 

Jabalah : I am not like that. Rather, I am the one who chose honour above disgrace 
and humiliation. 

Khalid 4b : You seem very eager to lower yourself, for honour is tomorrow in the 
Everlasting Abode far off from this wretched abode. 

Jabalah : O brother of Banu Makhzum, do not push me too far with your words. The 
only reason I am withholding my hand against you and your men is due to this 
prisoner you hold. He is close to Caesar who respects him. I fear that if I attack you, 
you will kill him before I can kill you. So release him then I will release you. 



Khdlid 4b : As for my prisoner, I shall not leave him until I have killed him and I do 
not care what happens to me afterwards. As for you threatening us with your great 
numbers, it is most unjust. You are so many and we are just thirteen. 

You have surrounded us with your horse's bridles, spear's points and long swords. If 
you want to be fair then let one horseman take on another horseman while your 
patrician stays here. If you kill us then he is obviously free and if Allah grants us 
victory over you - for indeed victory comes only from Allah - then you will not be 
concerned about the prisoner dying for you will have been killed before him. 

Jabalah lowered his head and went to report Khalid's 4b reply to the governor of 
Amorium who became intensely angry and unsheathed his sword. Khalid 4b 
understood that he intended to launch an attack, but Jabalah stopped the governor, 
and made him stand underneath his cross. 

Jabalah returned to Khalid 4b and said, "O brother of Banu Makhzum, your proposal 
appeals to justice. These Romans are sheep who do not understood the justice of 
duelling. I told them what you said and they have now accepted the duel, so 
whoever of you wants should come out and duel." 

27) 'Abdurahman <& fights Jabalah 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

Khalid 4b wanted to duel, but 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr 4» stopped him, saying, "O 
Abu Sulayman! None will go and duel them besides me. I will strive to the utmost 
against them. Perhaps I will meet Abu Bakr 4b." 

Khalid 4b let him go and said, "Go. May Allah grant appreciation for your words and 
recognition for your actions." 

He went out riding the horse which 'Umar 4fr had received from the booty of 
Ajnadayn. The horse was from the Christian 'Arabs of Banu Lakhm and JutMm and 
was like a huge mountain. He was virtually drowning in iron and layered chain-mail 
and bore a long spear in his hand. Roving between the Roman army and Ghassani 
army, he challenged them to duel him, saying, "Come and fight. I am the son of as- 
Siddiq." Then he recited the following poem before challenging them again to duel 


Part 2: Hims 

JL_«_LJLj (j-jJ-J! IJ__» ^j_pl JL5_*JI JpUaJl a_-w^_«Jl j-i! 

/ am #ze son 0/ 'Abdullah the one of elevation 

And dignity, he was virtuous with perfection. 

True in speech was my father of distinction, 

I will act upon this Din with action. 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

Five Roman horses came against him. In every round of attack he killed one until all 
five lay dead. The Romans then held back from him, so Jabalah came furiously out 
against him. When he neared him he said, "O boy, you have exceeded the limits 
against us and gone overboard in fighting us." 

'Abdurahmdn 4® : And how is that? How have I transgressed the limits? 

Jabalah : You are filling the Earth with our corpses! I have not come out to fight you 
but came because one of your companions came out to help you and this is against 
the qualities of nobility and justice. 

'Abdurahmdn <&> (smiling) : O Ibn al-Ayham, do you try to deceive me when 'Ali bin 
Abi Talib trained me? I have participated with him in many battles and other 

Jabalah : I am not tricking you and speak nothing but the truth. 

Abdurahmdn *fe : If you are speaking the truth then send one of your men against 
this supposed companion of mine for I am willing and equal to your challenge. 

Jabalah : My lad, why do you not join us? I will baptise you in holy water from 
which you will emerge purified of all sins just as you were when you came out of 
your mother's womb. You will be of the party of the Cross and Bible, partake in the 
Communion and receive great awards from Caesar. I will marry you to my daughter 
and grant you my bounties. I will greatly honour and enrich you. I am he about whom 
your Prophet's poet composed this poem: 



*_j_i»j_?*Jt ^_» 4_S_i>-Ij_i ^.a J J j ' ■ o ; ^ -S-j L-«_j_j A — * -X-j>- t)l 

Per/'/j */ze son ofJafnah tribe has ancestors who are blameless, 

He gives a lot but considers it to be quite worthless. 

He did not forget me when he ominously went to Syria, nor when 

he became a Christian in Rome, 

You will be at such a place where you will get every relaxation 

if you visit his home. 

So hurry to accept what I am offering you to save yourself from destruction 

and to enjoy great bounties and luxury. 

'Abdurahman 4» : There is no deity except Allah alone. He has no partner. Woe unto 
you, you son of a despicable man. Do you invite me to come from guidance and go 
to misguidance? From faith towards disbelief and ignorance? I am of those whose 
faith sits deeply in their hearts, know guidance from crookedness, verify the truth of 
Allah's Prophet and despise whoever denies Allah. Come and fight and leave this 
deception and impossibility. Come forward and do what you really intended to do in 
the first place so that I can strike off your head and dirty your nose with dust. Thus 
will the 'Arabs be free of the shame of being connected to you for you are a denier 
of the Most Merciful and a worshipper of crosses. 

Jabalah became infuriated and attacked him. He wanted to stab him with his spear, 
but ' Abdurahman 4g> dodged it and then returned his attack. The two of them began 
thrusting their spears at each other until 'Abdurahman <& became exhausted from 
using the spear. He flung it down and unsheathed his sword. They continued fighting 
until he hit Jabalah's spear with his sword, cutting off the spear-point. Jabalah threw 
the stump aside and drew his sword. It had come from Kindah and was a relic of 'Ad. 
It was like lightning striking, breaking whatever it struck. Jabalah then launched a 
vicious attack against him. 


Part 2: Hims 

Rafl' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

We were amazed at how 'Abdurahman 4b fought, considering his youth and lack of 
support. They both struck at each other at the same time, but 'Abdurahman overtook 
Jabalah, cutting through his shield right into his helmet which was of tempered steel. 
He inflicted a deep wound in Jabalah whose blood began flowing. 

Jabalah then struck back cutting right through his chain-mail, armour and clothing, 
wounding his shoulder. When the pain struck 'Abdurahman, he kept steady, 
pretending that the blow did not penetrate. He turned his horse and let loose its reins 
until he reached Khalid &> and his men. 

Khdlid 4b : Did the blow of the enemy of Allah reach you? 

'Abdurahman 4i> : Yes. 

He revealed his wounds to Khalid 4b, so the Muslims took him off his horse and 
bandaged his wounds. 

Khalid 4b then said to him, "O son of as-Siddiq, Jabalah's blow might have cut you, 
but I swear that I will frighten them with regard to their prisoner just as they 
frightened me with regard to you." 

Then he called out to Hammam, "Bring that Christian here." 

Hammam brought Luke in front of Khalid 4b who beheaded him. 

28) Muslims face destruction 

When the Romans saw what had happened to Luke, they went into mourning. 
Jabalah was angry and said, "You have been nothing but treacherous in killing our 
man." Then he shouted at the Romans and Christian 'Arabs to launch an attack. 
When Khalid 4b saw them attacking the Muslims he said to Hammam, "Stay with 
'Abdurahman and defend him against whoever intends to harm him. Thereafter he 
called out to the Muslims, "O Sahabah of Rasulullah &! None of you should move 
away from his partner to go and attack alone. Rather, you should all stay around me. 
Help from Allah comes amazingly quickly." 

So they gathered around him as he had ordered them and none came against them 
except such a person who would soon lose any further hope of living. 



The Romans and Christian 'Arabs all attacked them, but the Muslims remained firm 
despite the battle becoming more and more intense and their becoming more 

Rabi'ah bin 'Amir narrates: 

By Allah! Whenever the horses would start grouping against us, Khalid * would 
personally go and shield us against them and scatter them. This continued until 
hunger and thirst started afflicting us. 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

When I saw hunger and thirst seizing us, I said to Khalid <&, "O Abu Sulayman, this 
is the end of us." 

"By Allah!" he replied, "You have spoken the truth for I forgot to bring with me the 
blessed cap." 

Matters became grave for the Muslims. They lost patience, were out of breath and 
realised that the Christians would destroy them. 

Even though the Earth was filled with Christian corpses, the Christians were about 
to complete the capture of the Muslims. Suddenly an unseen voice proclaimed, "He 
who thought himself to be safe has been abandoned and he who was fearing is 
helped. O bearers of the Qur'an, receive glad-tidings, relief has come to you from the 
Most Merciful who has helped you against the Cross-worshippers." This is after 
hearts flew into throats (out of fear), and the cutting swords did their work whilst 
horses had pounded against them. 

Busrah narrates from Ishaq bin 'Abdillah: 

I was with Abu 'Ubaydah's army at Shayzar when one night he came out of his tent 
screaming, "O Muslims, to arms! The Muslim horsemen have been surrounded." We 
rushed to him from every direction and said, "What is happening to you, O 
commander?" Abu 'Ubaydah replied, "Rasulullah & came to me while I was 
sleeping, pulled me and scolded me thus, 'O Ibn al-Jarrah, you sleep and do not help 
a noble people? Get up and go to Khalid bin al-Walid who is surrounded by a 
despicable people. If Allah wills, you will meet up with him.'" 


Part 2: Hims 

The Muslims immediately rushed to don their armour and weapons and mounted 
their horses in search of Khalid 4b. 

29) The blessed hair of Rasulullah $ 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b, riding at the head of the Muslims, suddenly saw a rider whose 
horse was speeding at a terrific pace ahead of the Muslims, so he ordered some men 
to go and catch up but none were able to due to the horse's great speed. When the 
horses of the Muslims grew too weak to catch up, Abu 'Ubaydah 4b thought that it 
must be an angel sent ahead of them by Allah, so he called out, "Take it easy, O noble 
horseman, who drives others away. Be gentle upon yourself. May Allah have mercy 
upon you." 

Upon hearing this call, the rider stopped until Abu 'Ubaydah 4b caught up and saw 
that it was Umm Tamim, Khalid's 4t wife. 

Abii 'Ubaydah 4& : What made you go ahead of us like that? 

Umm Tamim : O commander, I heard you screaming, "Verily Khalid has been 
surrounded by the enemy." So I said, "Khalid will never be helpless as long as he 
carries the blessed hair of Rasulullah S with him," when I accidently came across 
the blessed cap (wherein he keeps the hair). Seeing that he must have forgotten it, I 
grabbed it and rushed to deliver it to him. 

Abii 'Ubaydah 4b : I praise Allah at your action, O Umm Tamim. Go with Allah's 
help and blessings. 

Umm Tamim narrates: 

I was with a group of 'Arab women of Mathhij and other tribes when we came across 
the rising dust and the battle. We saw the spears and swords flashing like twinkling 
stars but no sound was heard from the Muslims. 

We disliked that and said, "The enemy is overpowering them." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" and charged with the Muslims. 

Rafi' bin 'Umayrah narrates: 

We had lost hope of living when suddenly we heard shouts of, "La ilaha illallah" and 
"Allahu Akbar!" In a short while, the Muslims had the Christians surrounded and 



thrust their swords at them from every direction. Voices were raised and screams 
were heard. 

Mus'ab bin Muharib al-Yashkuri narrates: 

I saw the Cross-Worshippers fleeing while Khalid sat firmly in his saddle wondering 
where the shouts were coming from. A rider appeared from the dust-cloud shoving 
aside the Roman horsemen who were fleeing. When the rider reached near us, Khalid 
& went ahead and asked, "Who are you, O brave horseman?" 

Umm Tamim replied, "I am your wife, Umm Tamim, O Abu Sulayman. I have 
brought you the blessed cap through which you are helped against your enemies, so 
take it. By Allah! You did not forget it except that this predestined event should come 
to pass." 

As she handed it to him a flash of light like blinding lightning could be seen 
emanating from the hair of Rasulullah H. 

Khalid 4» put on the cap and immediately attacked the Christians who fled in 
confusion. The Muslims launched a massive attack and in a short while the enemy 
were overpowered leaving none except the dead, wounded and prisoners behind. 

The first to flee was Jabalah, followed by his Christian 'Arabs. After returning from 
the pursuit the Muslims gathered around the flag of Abu 'Ubaydah 4* to greet him 
and each other. They thanked Allah for granting them safety. He looked at Khalid 4jb 
and his men who resembled purple stumps. Abu 'Ubaydah 4* shook his hand, 
congratulated him on attaining safety and said, "O Abu Sulayman, Allah be praised 
at your deeds. You have dealt with the treacherous ones and pleased the Grand King. 
O Muslims, I believe that we should move without delay against Qinsarin and al- 
' Awasim. We will kill their men and seize their wealth." The Muslims replied, "What 
an excellent view, O Trustworthy One of the Ummah." 

30) The caravan of Ba'labakk 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* selected a group of horsemen to act as the vanguard under 'Iyad 
bin GMnim al-Ash'ari. Upon reaching Qinsarin and al-'Awasim he ordered them to 
start raids. So they began the raids, capturing children and killing men. The people 
of Qinsarin therefore shut the city gates and offered peace on payment of Ji2yah. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4* accepted and wrote out the terms of surrender. He imposed on each 
person the Jizyah of four dinars as 'Umar 4* had ordered him to do. 


Part 2: Hims 

After the conquest of Qinsarin, Abu 'Ubaydah 4» said to the Sahabah &, "Advise me 
for Allah has commanded His Prophet II thus: 

v4«c/ consult them in the affair. Then when you have reached a 
decision place your trust upon Allah. [3:159] 

So shall we go to Aleppo which is heavily fortified, or to Antioch which has many 
slaves and soldiers or shall we return?" 

Muslims : O commander, how can we go to Aleppo and Antioch when the truce is 
expiring with Armin, Hims and Jusiyah. Doubtless they have fortified themselves, 
stocked up food and reinforced their men. We fear that they will attack us in the 
territory which we have occupied, especially at Ba'labakk and its fort, for they are 
strong and numerous. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fr left Khalid 4» at Hims and proceeded to Ba'labakk. When he 
neared it, he came across a caravan consisting of mules and other beasts carrying 
different kinds of merchandise. Seeing this great caravan which had come from the 
coast heading for Ba'labakk, Abu 'Ubaydah 4a said, "What a great caravan this is." 

Muslims : We do not know anything about it. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* : Then go and find out. 

Some horsemen went and returned to report that it was a Roman caravan carrying 
much merchandise. 

Shaddad bin ' Adi narrates: 

Most of the caravan's load was sugar for Ba'labakk. Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> said, 
"Ba'labakk is at war with us, we have no agreement with them. Take what Allah has 
sent to you for that is Allah's booty unto you." 

So we captured the caravan which had 400 loads of sugar, olives, pistachios etc. and 
took the people prisoner. Abu 'Ubaydah 4* declared, "Refrain from killing them and 
seek ransoms from them." 



We released them upon payment of gold, silver, robes and beasts. We used the sugar 
to make a thick paste of flour and clarified butter and a sweet made of flour and 
honey with butter and olives. Imagine how the Muslims ate! We spent the night at 
the place where we had attacked the caravan and remained there until morning. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4b then ordered us to advance to attack Baiabakk, but some of the people 
of the caravan had escaped and informed the Ba'labakkis of what had happened to 
the caravan. The governor of Ba'labakk was another Herbius. When this warrior 
heard of the coming of the Muslim army, he called his soldiers to get their weapons 
and gear. He led his forces out of Ba'labakk, knowing that Abu 'Ubaydah 4e was 
coming towards him with the Muslim army. 

31) Battle of Ba'labakk 

The two armies spotted each other at midday. The patrician had a cavalry of 7,000 
plus the mob which had followed him from his land. When the Muslims saw him 
they called out, "To arms! To arms!" 

The bravest Muslims rushed to the frontlines, pointing their spears and unsheathing 
their swords. The patrician in the meantime was arranging military formation of his 
men when one of his generals said, "What do you wish to do with the 'Arabs?" 

Herbius : I will fight them to such an extent that they will never again entertain 
desires against us and attack our city. 

General : I opine that you should not fight them, but should return back safely, for 
verily the people of Damascus could not overcome them, nor could the armies of 
Ajnadayn and Palestine repulse them. You have heard enough of what they did 
recently to the governors of Qinsarin and Amorium and the Christian 'Arabs and how 
they made them turn on their heels in defeat. The best thing for you to do is to return 
to save yourself and those with you. 

Herbius : I will neither return, nor will I be defeated. I have heard that most of their 
army is stationed at Hims with Khalid bin al-Walid. This is but a small number sent 
to us as booty by Christ. 

General : As for me, I will not fight them for I disagree with you. 

The general lifted his horse's reins and returned to Baiabakk, followed by many of 
the Christians. As for the patrician, he continued his preparations, bent on battle. Abu 
'Ubaydah *$. saw this, so he too arranged the Muslim ranks and said, "O people, may 
Allah have mercy upon you. Know that Allah has promised victory unto you and has 


Part 2: Hints 

already helped you. He defeated most of these people already. This city to which you 
are heading for lies in the centre of the area you have already conquered. The people 
have stocked up on provisions, equipment and power, so beware of vanity, but seek 
revenge and fight the enemies of the Din. Help Allah's Din and He will help you." 

He then led the Muslims in attack. 

'Amir bin Rabi'ah narrates: 

I swear that we only fought them for a single round when they turned and fled, 
heading for the city walls. The governor, wounded in seven places, entered the city 
with his men'. The general who had advised him against fighting the 'Arabs met him 
and said, "So where is the booty of the 'Arabs which you captured?" 

Patrician : May Christ disfigure you! You dare to mock me? The 'Arabs have killed 
my men and inflicted these wounds on me. 

General : Did I not tell you that you will ruin yourself and your men? 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& reached the city and found it to be formidable; built like a fortress. 
The inhabitants had gathered all their wealth and animals and put them in the centre 
of the city. The Muslims saw all this wealth spread out like a swarm of locusts. When 
Abu 'Ubaydah <# saw the city, its fortifications, its wealth, its many men and intense 
cold - BaTabakk remains cold, summer or winter - he said to the elite amongst the 
Sahabah &, "What is your opinion on this city?" 

They agreed on besieging the city. 

Mu 'dth bin Jabal 4* : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. The Romans 
are overcrowded in the city and I think that it cannot hold them all. If we protract a 
siege against them we can hope for Allah's help and victory at our hands. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : O Ibn Jabal, how do you know that they are crowded in the city? 

Mu 'dth 4a : I was the first to charge against the enemy and upon reaching them I saw 
the city and the White Fort. I tried to reach their front row so that the Muslims could 
cut them off from the city (but no Muslim joined me). I saw them entering the city 
like a flood from every gate and the city became filled with rural folk, villagers, cattle 
and animals. The city became tight for them until their voices resembled the droning 
of bees due to their great number. 



Abu 'Ubaydah # : You have spoken the truth, O Mu'ath. By Allah! I know you to 
have only a good and correct opinion. 

32) Romans reject surrender 

The Muslims spent the night guarding each other until the morning, Abu 'Ubaydah 
& then sent the following letter to the people of Ba'labakk: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : The commander of the Muslim armies in Syria and the 
representative of the Commander of the Believers, Abu 
'Ubaydah bin al-Jarrdh 

To : The opposing and stubborn people ofBa 'labakk. 

Allah Who is Most Pure from defect, Most High and to Whom 
belongs all praise has made this Din triumph and has aided His 
believing friends over the armies of the Disbelievers. He has 
conquered the cities and disgraced the people of wickedness. We 
send this letter to explain ourselves to your great and small ones 
for we are a people whose religion does not allow oppression 
and fighting unnecessarily without finding out your state. So if 
you come to terms just as the cities before you did, we will grant 
you safety and the responsibility of Islamic rule will fall on us. 
If you are set on fighting us, then we will seek Allah's help 
against you and wage war against you. 

Hurry with your reply. 


Part 2: Hims 

...Peace be upon him who follows guidance. It has been 

revealed to us that punishment is for those who deny and turn 

away. [20:48] 

He folded the letter and gave it to a subject Disbeliever ordering him to deliver it to 
the people of Ba'labakk and to return with a reply. When the messenger reached the 
city walls he called out, "I am a messenger unto you from the 'Arabs." They dropped 
a rope which he tied around his waist. They lifted him up to them and took him to 
the governor to whom he delivered the letter. 

Herbius gathered the soldiers and generals, read out the letter to them and said, 
"Present your views on this matter." 

A patrician from amongst his advisors said, "Personally I feel that we should not 
fight them. We have no power to fight them and once peace is attained we will be 
safe, calm and prosperous just as the people of Arakah, Palmyra, Hawran, Busra and 
Damascus have become. If we fight them they will defeat us, kill our men, enslave 
us and take our women. Peace is therefore better than war." 

Herbius : May Christ have no mercy upon you. I have never seen a greater coward 
or less enduring man than you. How can you talk of handing our city over to this 
'Arab waste especially now that you have been acquainted with their war tactics and 
fighting and have tested them in battle? Had I attacked their left wing I would have 
defeated them. 

Patrician : O really? I am sure that they and even their centre were quite terrified of 

The two ended up arguing and swearing at each other with the populace split into two 
camps - one wanting to fight and the other wanting to surrender. The governor 
shredded the letter, threw the pieces at the messenger and ordered his men to lower 
him out of the city. 

The messenger reached the Muslim camp where he reported to Abu 'Ubaydah 4* 
what had happened and said, "O commander, the majority of them are intent on 

Abu 'Ubaydah «& called out to the Muslims, "Be severe against them and bear in 
mind that this city is in the centre of all that you have conquered. If it remains 
unconquered, it will be a nuisance to those whom you have made peace with and you 
will not be able to travel unhindered." 



The SaMbah of Rasulullah S got their weapons and gear and proceeded towards the 
city walls where the defenders looked down on them. Both sides began flinging 
stones and arrows at each other. The governor had placed his seat in one of the fort's 
towers which faced an-Namlah. He had bandaged his wounds and wore his weapons 
and upper-body armour and on his head was a jewelled cross. The patricians and 
others surrounding him were wearing golden armour and were very well equipped. 
Around their necks hung golden jewelled crosses and in their hands they carried 
bows and arrows. 

33) The Roman attack 

'Amir bin Wahb al-Yashkuri narrates: 

I participated in the Battle of Ba'labakk. When the Muslims charged against the city 
walls the Roman arrows came flying like locusts. Some 'Arabs had no weapons and 
were struck by the arrows. I saw the Romans throwing each other down on us from 
the walls just like birds fall down on grains. I went to one of the enemy who had been 
flung down so that I could behead him when he shrieked, "AlghawthlAlghawth!" in 
Greek. From experience in the war we understood that to be a request for safety from 
us, so I said to him, "Woe unto you! I grant you safety but tell me who threw you 
down the wall?" 

He started prattling in Greek, which I did not understand. 

I took him to Abu 'Ubaydah's 4= tent where I said to him, "O commander, get 
someone who understands this Christian's language for I saw them flinging each 
other down from the walls." 

Abu 'Ubaydah # said to a translator who was present, "Find out this Christian's 
story and why they are throwing each other down." 

Translator : Woe unto you! We have granted you safety, so answer us honestly. Why 
are you throwing each other down? 

Roman : We do not throw our own people down. We are the villagers and country 
folk who upon hearing of your coming here from Qinsarin fled to the city for 
protection from all the rural districts because we knew that a large army is here at 
Ba'labakk. The place was overcrowded and the roads blocked. Some of us went to 
the city walls. When there was no other place for us to go to we moved in the 
towers and onto the city walls. Then when you attacked, the soldiers of the city came 


Part 2: Hints 

to us and started trampling us. When the fighting intensified against them they 
started throwing us from the towers and walls. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& was overjoyed and said, "I hope that Allah is granting them as 
booty for us." The battle intensified and men were ground up like wheat. Screams 
were raised whilst the Romans defended their wall and none of the Muslims could 
get near to it due to the intensity of arrows and stones raining down upon them. 

Ghiyath bin 'Adi at-Tai narrates: 

During the first day of the attack on Baiabakk, twelve Muslims were martyred while 
many Romans, soldiers and civilians, were killed. We returned to the camp having 
no appetite whatsoever for food or drink, only wanting to warm ourselves by the fire 
due to the intense chill. Thus we spent the night lighting fires and taking turns to 
watch the camp. 

After we had prayed Salatul Fajr an announcer proclaimed on behalf of Abu 
'Ubaydah, "It is my firm resolve that none of you shall battle these people until he 
has gone to his luggage and prepared for himself hot food. He should eat to be strong 
against the enemy." 

We went to make our preparations, resulting in a delay which made the Romans think 
that we were not coming out of cowardice and weakness. Herbius therefore called 
out, "Go out and get them. May Christ bless you." 

Ghiyath bin 'Adi narrates: 

The Muslims did not even realise that the gates were open with the Roman cavalry 
and infantry advancing against us like a swarm of locusts. Some of us were 
stretching our hands towards the food and others were still baking their bread when 
the herald proclaimed, "O cavalry of Allah, mount your horses and prepare for Jihad. 
Attack the enemy before they destroy you." 

Hamdan bin Usayd al-Hadrami narrates: 

I had some bread with me and took some olive oil to use as gravy with the bread 
when the herald proclaimed, "To arms! To arms!" 

By Allah! I quickly grabbed a piece of bread, dipped it in the oil and put it in my 
mouth. I stood up quickly and jumped on the horse bareback. In my haste to respond 



to the call, I became confused and grabbed one of the tent pillars and charged the 
Romans. By Allah! I did not realise what I was doing and was not even aware of 
myself until I was amongst the Romans, hacking them to bits and pieces with my 
sword. I saw the enemy spread out while Abu 'Ubaydah was shouting loudly, "Today 
is the day, not afterwards." He had erected a flag to which the people were rushing. 
Seeing the enemy's fierceness in fighting and perseverence in the attack of the 
Muslims, he led an attack against them surrounding them from all sides. Amongst 
those who were with him were 'Amr bin Ma'dikarab, Ibn Abi Bakr, Rabi'ah bin 
'Amir, Malik bin al-Ashtar, Dirar and Thul Kala' al-Himyari 4b. Praise be to Allah, 
they fought most valiantly and proved themselves most brave. 

As a result of their attack, the Romans began fleeing back to the city walls and shut 
the city gates. The Muslims returned to their camp to light their fires and bury the 
martyrs. The Muslim chiefs approached Abu 'Ubaydah and said, "O commander, 
may Allah have mercy upon you. Have you resolved upon any plan? 

Abu 'Ubaydah # : We should withdraw half a Farsakh (2.7 km) from the city to give 
your horses space to roam in and to prevent a similar attack from being repeated. 
Help comes only from Allah Most High. 

He then summoned Sa'id bin Zayd bin 'Amr bin Nufayl <&>, tied a flag for him, gave 
him command of over 500 horsemen and 300 infantry and ordered them to go down 
to the valley and fight the enemy at the gates so as to preoccupy them from turning 
towards the Muslims. Similarly Dirar * was given command of 500 cavalry and 100 
infantry to attack the Syria Gate. Abu 'Ubaydah 4» instructed him thus, "O Dirar, 
show your bravery against the Romans. Go and fight them." 

Dirar 4» : Nobly and lovingly (do I obey). 

Both armies departed for their separate destinations. 

34) Second Roman attack 

In the morning the Romans opened the gates and emerged as a large crowd around 
the governor, who said, "Beware O Christians, for the people of this religion before 
you were too cowardly to fight the 'Arabs and were unable to fight them in battle!" 

Christians : O sir, we fight with willing and happy hearts for although we feared 
them before finally experiencing battle with them, we now know that they cannot 
persevere any more than us in battle because they wear uncouth, old clothing or 


Part 2: Hints 

tattered furs while we wear armour and chain-mail and we have gifted our lives to 

When Abu 'Ubaydah * saw the great multitude, he called out, "O Muslims, do not 
lose heart for then the wind of your power will dissipate. Be patient for Allah is with 
the patient ones." 

The reality was that the Romans were scared because of what had occurred the 
previous day. They then launched a massive attack. 

Sahl bin Sabbah al-'Absl narrates: 

I witnessed the attack of the Baiabakkis. On the second day they come against us 
trying to achieve what they had attempted on the first day and mounted a fierce 
assault against us. I was wounded in my upper right arm and could not lift a sword 
or even move my arm, so I dismounted my horse and roamed amongst my friends, 
thinking to myself, "If anyone targets me I will not be able to defend myself." 

I climbed to the top of the mountain and watched the two armies. The Romans 
desired to exterminate the Muslims, who were calling out for help. Abu 'Ubaydah * 
was making du'a. Each tribe and family was vying to outdo the other in battle. 

I was behind a rock on the mountain watching the striking of swords on helmets and 
shields from which sparks were flying. The two armies clashed and were 
indistinguishable from one another. I said to myself, "Woe unto me! Abu 'Ubaydah 
4» is in a fearful situation in one place while Dirar and Sa'ld bin Zayd are at other 
places. Perhaps they could be of help in removing this terrifying violence from him." 

So I hurried to break some trees and piled the wood up. Using a piece of flint that I 
had with me I lit a fire and burnt the wood - green pieces as well as dry ones, 
resulting in a thick smoke arising. This was in fact the signal for us to gather at night 
in Syria i.e. to light a smoky fire. As the smoke rose to the sky, Dirar* and Sa'id * 
and their men saw it and called out to each other, "May Allah have mercy. Let us get 
to Abu 'Ubaydah * for this smoke indicates a grave matter. The correct thing to do 
is to gather our horses in one place." 

So they rode fast until they saw the Muslims in the throes of battle and in a most 
difficult and terrifying situation. Suddenly a voice called out, "O bearers of the 
Quran, help has come to you from the Most Merciful against the worshippers of the 
cross." They saw Sa'id bin Zayd <&> and Dirar * coming at the head of the cavalry 



with their spears readied. The two now attacked the Romans who had been certain of 
victory up until then. 

When the flags of the Muslims appeared the Romans turned to see what was 
happening and discovered that the Muslims had come from behind and cut them off 
from the city. They wailed, "O ruin! O destruction!" thinking that reinforcements had 
arrived for the Muslims and that the governor had deceived them. 

When the governor saw their apathy, he called out, "Woe unto you! Do not return to 
the city. You have been cut off from it due to a trick of the 'Arabs." They obeyed and 
formed a circle around him, defending each other. 

35) Romans trapped in the ruins 

The governor led them to the mountain on his left-hand side, with Sa'id 4t> and 
Dirar4fc coming from the right-hand side of the fort, attacking and pursuing them. 
The Romans arrived at the mountain and took refuge in an empty fortified building. 
Sa'id & continued coming after them with his 500 cavalry, having not heard Abu 
'Ubaydah & announcing, "O people, none should break away from us to pursue them 
for their retreat may actually be a trick against you so that when you become 
separated they will attack you." Had Sa'id ^ heard him he would not have gone out. 

Seeing the Romans in the mountain, Sa'id #. said, "These are people whom Allah 
intends to destroy. Surround them from all directions and do not spare a single one 
of them who shows his head until the Muslims join us and we receive further orders 
from the commander." 

Turning to one of the senior Muslims he said, "Act in my place so that I can go and 
find out what Abu 'Ubaydah &, and those with him think." 

He then took about twenty of his men and went until they met up with the Muslims. 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe saw him he said, "O Sa'id, where are your men? What have 
you done with them?" 

Sa 'id 4* : Glad tidings! The Muslims are in a good state and safe. They are besieging 
the enemies of Allah in the mountain. 

He then narrated the whole incident to him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah * : Praise be to Allah who defeated them in their own lands and 
scattered them. However what is this disobedience from the two of you (Sa'id and 


Part 2: Hims 

Dirar^,)? Did I not order you to stay at the gates to occupy the enemy there? What 
brought you back to me? The Muslims and myself were fearful about your condition, 
fearing that the Romans had destroyed you and therefore we did not go against those 
who were fleeing. 

Sa 'id 4* : By Allah! I did not disobey your orders, nor did I oppose your words. I was 
stationed where you had ordered me. We saw black smoke rising so we said, "By 
Allah! This must be some catastrophe suffered at the hands of the Romans or a 
signal of the Muslims to call us," so we rushed to you. 

Abu 'Ubaydah * had an announcement made, "Whoever lit the fire and made the 
smoke on the mountain should report to the commander, Abu 'Ubaydah." 

Sahl bin Sabbah narrates: 

When I heard the announcement I answered the herald and reported to Abu 'Ubaydah 
<& who asked me, "What made you so audacious as to do that?" 

I narrated the whole incident to him. He said, "Allah has guided you to Paradise, but 
beware of taking any action after this without your commander's permission." 

36) The Muslims are trapped 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4h and Sahl were speaking when Munhadir bin al-Jabal shouted, "To 
arms! To arms! O Ummah of the Bearer of glad-tidings and warnings, go and join 
your brethren who are surrounded by the Romans and are in a serious situation." 

The governor had advanced against the Muslims and called out to the Christians, "O 
worshippers of Christ, get this paltry number of disgusting people who surround you. 
Kill them and enter the city for if you kill them you will break the 'Arabs' power and 
they will leave you alone." 

Mus'ab bin 'Adi narrates: 

I was amongst the men of Sa'id bin Zayd at Ba'labakk. We had surrounded the 
governor and his men at the mountain when, before we realised what was happening, 
the Romans came charging at us from all directions. We called out to each other and 
gathered together. By Allah! Their cavalry poured out against us and surrounded us 
after we had been surrounding them. Our slogan that day was simply, "Patience! 



We were in a bad state and terrible anxiety overcame us when we heard a loud voice 
all over the mountain proclaiming, "Is there no man who will give his life in the Path 
of Allah by going to call the Muslims to arms? Indeed they are near to us but do not 
know what has befallen us." 

Upon hearing this call I spurred my horse with my ankle. It was a prime horse which 
would race like the blowing wind or like water gushing forth from a burst tight pipe. 
It was like a big mountain. By Allah! It sped under me like lightning and the Romans 
could catch nothing of it except its dust after I killed two of them. My horse raised 
its legs above rocks and went over rough terrain until I saw the Muslim army and 
called out, "To arms! To arms! O Ummah of the Bearer of glad tidings and 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> heard the cry he summoned the archers. When 500 of those 
who bear 'Arabian bows responded, he placed them under Sa'id bin Zayd and said 
to him, "May Allah have mercy upon you. Hurry and join your men before the enemy 
gets them." 

Then he called Dirar «$> and his men and said to him, "Go and join your brother, Sa'id 
bin Zayd." 

The Muslims flew out like a swarm of locusts and climbed the mountain. They saw 
the Romans surrounding the Sahabah of Rasulullah 81. 

Abu Zayd bin Waraqah bin 'Amir narrates: 

I was amongst the men of Sa'id bin Zayd who fought at the mountain. They had 
surrounded us but we were patient like noble men. Amongst us seventy men were so 
severely wounded that they were close to death. We were fatigued from the fighting 
and injuries when suddenly we heard cries of, "La ilaha illallah" and "Allahu Akbar." 
When the Romans saw the flags of the Muslims they fled back to the building. We 
caught up with those retreating, killing and wounding them. The enemy took shelter 
in the ruins which we surrounded. None dared expose his head without being shot at 
with many arrows readied. Abu 'Ubaydah 4s was informed of the Muslim and 
Christian death-tolls and that the enemy was being besieged without having any 
provisions or water. He said, "Praise be to Allah! O people return to your goods and 
pitch your tents around the city for Allah is fulfilling His promise of help." 

The Muslims shifted to their first site outside the city. Scouts were despatched, sheep 
and camels sent for grazing and the slaves were sent out to gather firewood. Fires 
were lit and the fear dispelled and they now all felt at ease. 


Part 2: Hints 

On the other hand, the Ba'labakkis were spread out on the city walls, wailing in 
anguish in Greek. Abu 'Ubaydah <& asked one of the translators, "What are they 

"O commander," replied the translator, "They are saying, 'Woe unto us! How great 
is our affliction. O ruin of our homes! O death of our men! The 'Arabs have 
conquered our lands.'" 

37) The Romans seek a way out 

That evening Abu 'Ubaydah 4» sent a messenger to Sa'id bin Zayd <&> with this 
message, "O Ibn Zayd, may Allah have mercy upon you. Be very careful with the 
Muslims with you. Make a special effort to see that not a single Roman escapes you. 
Do not give them the space of even one foot for a single one to escape for then their 
last man will also escape like the first man. You will then be like a man who had 
something in his hand and then destroyed it himself." 

When the message reached Sa'id &> he ordered his men to besiege them from all 
sides and permitted only 100 armed men to gather firewood. They obeyed, lit fires 
and spent the night circling the building reciting, "La ilaha illallah" and "Allahu 

Upon seeing this the governor said to his men, "Woe unto you! We have lost hope of 
any plan and our thinking was flawed. We have neither help nor reinforcements nor 
allies. Even if we make any great effort the 'Arabs will effortlessly keep us trapped 
here in this building. We have in fact trapped ourselves in this prison where there is 
neither food nor drink. If this continues for a second or third day then our strong ones 
will weaken and our weak ones will die. We will be forced to surrender and then they 
will kill us all. All our strategy will be void." 

Patricians : Sir, what should we do? 

Governor : We will deceive them. We will ask them for a peace pact for ourselves 
and the people of the city - as they had asked, then I will guarantee them that I will 
conquer the city on their behalf and be under their rule. Once we are inside the city 
we will attack them from the city walls above. We might get a message through to 
the governors of 'Ayn al-Jawz and Jusiyah. Hopefully they will send reinforcements 
and fight the 'Arabs outside the city while we attack from above the city walls. Christ 
will suffice us this time. 



A General : O Sir, know that the governor of Jusiyah will never come to our aid 
because he is too busy himself and may be in a siege similar to ours. In fact we were 
informed just before the 'Arabs invaded us that they surrendered having no ability or 
power to fight the 'Arabs. As for the people of 'Ayn al-Jawz they are spread to the 
furthest ends of Syria, involved in their trade and most probably have entered into 
'Arab rule. So now consider what is best for yourself and your citizens. 

The governor was forced to concede to all of this. In the morning he climbed to the 
top of the wall of the building and called out, "O 'Arabs, is there anyone amongst 
you who understands Greek? I am the governor, Herbius." A translator who heard 
him went to Sa'id bin Zayd & and said, "O Sir, that Christian is their governor, it 
appears that he wants to speak to you." 

Sa 'id 4& : Let him send whom he wills. Tell him that his messenger will be safe until 
he returns to him. 

38) The Roman envoy 

When the translator informed him of this, he turned to one of his senior officers and 
said, "You see our situation and how the 'Arabs have cut off our escape. Christ has 
permitted Syria to be ruined. The 'Arabs have triumphed over us and we are in dire 
straits. If we do not seek their guarantee of safety they will destroy us and our 
horsemen and then they will rule over our women and children and divide our wealth 
and children amongst themselves. We have no hope of outside help for every city is 
too busy defending itself. So go down and obtain their guarantee of safety. This will 
enable me to deceive them once we have returned to the city. I may be able to entice 
their leader with some wealth so that he will leave us for some other place, then we 
will see what transpires between him and Heraclius." 

Upon reaching Sa'id <&, the envoy wanted to prostrate but was prevented from doing 
so. The Muslims rushed to him and physically restrained him. Perplexed, he asked, 
"Why do you prevent me from honouring him?" 

The translator conveyed the question to Sa'id «#& who replied, "He and I are both 
slaves of Allah Most High. This kind of honouring and prostration belongs solely to 
Allah, the Eternal, The Worshipped One, the King." 

Envoy : So this is how you have been able to obtain victory against us and other 

Sa 'id 4& : Why have you come here? 


Part 2: Hints 

Envoy : I have come to obtain a guarantee of safety for our governor and a 
guarantee that you will not break your word with us. 

Sa 'id 4b : It is not of the conduct of leaders and generals of armies to violate their 
guarantees of safety. We, praise be to Allah, do not break our word. I will grant 
amnesty to your governor and all those with him who lay down their arms, surrender 
and seek amnesty. 

Envoy : We want this guarantee from your superiors and your subordinates. 

Sa 'id 4* : Granted. 

The envoy returned to inform the governor and then said, "Go, but beware of 
deception for the deceiver is always destroyed. These 'Arabs do not betray their 
trusts and word." 

39) The Romans come out 

I (al-Waqidi) have been informed that Herbius stripped off whatever he was wearing, 
including the brocade and laid down his arms. He was dressed in wool and emerged 
bare-headed, bare-footed and humiliated. His men accompanied him. They came 
before Sa'id 4fe who fell prostrate before Allah, saying, "All praise be to Allah Who 
has removed the tyrants from us and made us masters over their princes and kings." 
Then he turned to the governor and said, "Come closer." When he came to sit at his 
side, Sa'id 4& asked him, "Do you always wear this or something else?" 

Governor : By Christ and the Communion, never! I have never worn wool before, 
only silk and brocade. I am wearing this now because I have not come to fight you. 
Will you grant amnesty to my men and people? 

Sa 'id : As for those men here, they will be granted safety if they enter Islam and 
then they will enjoy the same rights as we do. If they wish to remain on their old 
religion they will have to promise to never again carry arms against us. As for the 
city, Abu 'Ubaydah, my commander, is attacking it and I expect that Allah has 
already granted him victory over it. I want to take you to him so that he can hear you 
out and make peace with your people. Come with me under my protection. If peace 
is not achieved I will bring you and those of your men who so wish, back to this place 
and then Allah will decide between us. Indeed He is the best of deciders. 

Governor : I will do that. 



Sa'id <& then called Sa'id bin Zayd bin AbT Waqqas bin ' Awf al-' Adawi and said to 
him, "0 Ibn Abi Waqqas, convey the glad-tidings of what you have heard to Abu 
'Ubaydah and hurry with your reply." 

Sa'id al-'Adawi mounted his great war-horse and raced away to Abu 'Ubaydah <*. 
He halted in front of him, made salam and said, "May Allah keep the commander in 
a good state. I convey the good news that the governor, Herbius, has sought amnesty 
from Sa'id bin Zayd who wants to bring him to you to obtain your guarantees of 
peace and safety for him and the city". Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> fell down into prostration 
out of gratitude to Allah. After raising his head he called out, "O people, advance to 
fight the city right now. Display all your weapons and shout, 'Allahu Akbar,' so as to 
terrify them." The Muslims thus went and shook the city with their cries of, "Allahu 
Akbar!" and terrified the Ba'labakkis. The two sides challenged each other to 
combat. The Muslims surrounded the city from all sides. 

Mirqal bin 'Utbah went to inform them of the governor's surrender and said, "Save 
your lives, children and wealth by surrendering. If you refuse, then Allah Most 
Blessed and High has promised us through the tongue of His Prophet Muhammad ® 
that He will conquer your lands, cities and all else. Indeed Allah is fulfilling that 
now." The Ba'labakkis were scared witless, their hearts shaking with fear. Throwing 
dust on their faces, they exclaimed, "The governor has destroyed us and himself. Had 
we surrendered before this siege it would have been better for us." 

The Muslims intensified the fighting. 

40) Abu 'Ubaydah &> and the governor 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4* found out that the fires of war were blazing at the city, he 
sent this message to Sa'id 4*, "Bring the governor quickly to us. He is guaranteed the 
safety which you granted him, for we do not renege on our promises." 

When the messenger arrived at the building Sa'id 4* appointed a deputy and took the 
governor to Abu 'Ubaydah 4>. He stood in front of Abu 'Ubaydah 4>, saw his attire 
and the attire of those with him and the intensity of the battle against the city and 
began shaking his head and chewing his fingers in frustration. 

Abvi 'Ubaydah 4& said to the translator, "Why is he shaking his head and biting his 
fingers as if he is regretting something lost?" When the translator asked him, he 
answered, "By Christ and by what He annointed! By the Church! By the Altar! I 
thought that you were greater in number than pebbles and better equipped. During 


Part 2: Hims 

the battle and the intense violence it had seemed to us that you were as numerous as 
pebbles and grains of sand. We saw grey horses mounted by men dressed in green 
carrying yellow flags. Now that I have come here I do not see any sign of them 
whatsoever. I see that you are in reality quite few in number. What has happened to 
your gigantic army? Did you send them away to ' Ayn al-Jawz, Jusiyah or some other 

After hearing this Abu 'Ubaydah * said to the translator, "Say: Woe unto you! We 
are Muslims whom Allah increases in the eyes of the Disbelievers and reinforces 
with angels just as He did at Badr. In this way Allah has conquered your lands and 
forts and humiliated your kings." 

This was translated to which the governor replied, "You have trampled Syria when 
the Kings of Persia, the Turks and the Jaramiqah were unable to do so. We did not 
imagine that this would ever happen. As for our fortified city it is not concerned 
about a siege because there is no comparable city in the whole of Syria. Solomon, 
son of David, had built it for himself and made it his capital and treasury. Had we not 
come out from the city against you, we would never have surrendered nor would we 
be in the least frightened of you fighting us even if you had to besiege us for 100 
years. Now all that has been lost, so will you offer fair terms of surrender to us for 
therein lies benefit for you and us. If we open the gates for you then by Christ and 
the True Bible you will not find any other city or fort in all of Syria difficult to 

This was translated to Abu 'Ubaydah 4fr who said to him, "Say: Praise be to Allah 
Most High who has made us masters of your lands and homes. You will now have to 
pay Jizyah. You deluded yourself with false security until Allah showed you disgrace 
and humiliation after honour and power. We will most certainly rule your city, kill 
your men and imprison your champions. Whoever fights us is not included in our 
pact. There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through Allah, 
the Most High, the Most Mighty." 

After this message was given the governor said, "I was certain that Christ was angry 
when he sent you to our city and gave you control. I exerted myself in warring 
against you and schemed against you, but my exertion and scheming were to no avail 
because you are a conquering nation. I only surrendered and placed my hands in 
yours after great effort on my part. I do not ask for pity upon myself nor do I ask for 
returning my hold over the land, I only desire what is best for the land for God does 
not love chaos. Will you please grant safety to the city, all it contains and those men 
who were with me?" 



Abu 'Ubaydah <& : What do you offer in return? 

Governor : State whatever you want. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» '■ Were Allah to grant us the city peacefully filled with gold and 
silver, it would still not be worth the blood of one Muslim to me. However, Allah 
grants the martyrs more than that in the Hereafter. 

Governor : I offer 1000 Uqiyah (122.5 kg) of white silver and 1000 robes of brocade. 

41) The treaty 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& smiled and went to the Muslims saying, "Have you heard what this 
patrician says?" 

Muslims : Yes. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> : What is your opinion on the conditions that he has offered? 

Muslims : We accept, but increase his fine. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& returned to him and said, "I will grant you peace on condition of 
2000 Uqiyah (244.9 kg) of red gold, 2000 Uqiyah of white silver, 2000 robes of 
brocade, 5000 swords of your city and all the weapons of those men besieged at the 
building. You will also have to pay the annual land-tax as from next year as well as 
the annual Jizyah. You will never again bear arms against us. You will have no 
correspondence with foreign powers. You will not start any new insurrection. You 
will not erect any new churches. You will always act with goodwill towards the 

Governor : I accept all that except that I wish to impose my own condition on you 
and your men. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> : What is your condition? 

Governor : None of your men may enter the city. Your representative must stay 
outside the city to receive the Jizyah and land-tax. You will let me enter the city so 
as to placate the people and see to their affairs. We will also establish outside our city 
a market for the benefit of your representative. That market will stock all the 
different kinds of goods which can be found in our city. Your men may not enter the 
city because we fear that they may be rude to our elders thus spoiling relations 
between us which will lead to betrayal and breaking of the treaty. 


Part 2: Hints 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* : Very well, and after the treaty we will also fight your enemies 
because we will have become responsible for you. The representative whom we will 
leave behind will be like a go-between and ambassador between us. 

Governor : But he must remain outside the city where he can do what he wants to. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t '■ It is agreed because we have no need to enter your city. 

Governor : Then agreement has been reached upon these terms. 

The governor and Abu 'Ubaydah & headed for the city. When they reached the gate, 
the governor uncovered his head and spoke to them in Greek. They recognised him 
and asked, "Where are your men?" 

He narrated to them what had happened to his men and told them of the treaty. They 
wept and said, "Lives have been lost and wealth destroyed." 

The governor called out, "O people, by Christ! I have not really made peace. I have 
other intentions." 

They retorted, "You go and make peace for yourself. As for us we will not spare a 
single 'Arab to live and rule over us. None will enter our lands nor will they enter 
our city which is the most heavily fortified in all of Syria." 

In the meantime Abu 'Ubaydah 4® informed the Muslims of the treaty and ordered 
them to cease all attacks against the city. The translator heard what the Ba'labakkis 
said and went to inform Abu 'Ubaydah 4s. The governor turned to Abu 'Ubaydah 4» 
and said to him, "Now what do you intend. Speak up or we will return to fighting as 

Governor : By the True Bible and Jesus Christ! If they do not surrender then I will 
enter the city with a large force and place the sword upon them. I will slay their men, 
imprison their women and loot their wealth. I can do this for I know all the weak 
points and secret roads of the city. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4® : What Allah wills will be done. 

42) The Romans pay war indemnity 

The Romans who were listening from the wall to what the governor was saying to 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> were afraid. The governor turned again to the Romans and said, 
"What do you say about surrendering to the 'Arabs? I am a prisoner in their hands 



and so are your cousins. If you do not surrender they will kill us all and then come 
and get you too." 

Ba'labakkis : O Sir, we are not capable of paying the amount they demand. 

Governor : Woe unto you! I take responsibility for a quarter of the amount. 

They were placated and said, "We allow none but you to enter. No 'Arab may come 
with you until we have put away our goods and hidden our women away." 

Governor : Woe unto you! I surrendered on the terms that none of them will enter the 
city at all. The 'Arab representative and his men will stay outside the city. You will 
establish a market for him from which he can purchase. 

The Romans were happy and opened the gates for him. He entered and Abu 
'Ubaydah -&> sent a message to Sa'id bin Zayd 4b that he should release the besieged 
Romans. He lifted the siege and took them to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b. They were disarmed 
and kept as hostage until such time as they paid their ransoms because it was feared 
that if they were to go to the city they would betray the Muslims. Thus they stayed 
with the Muslim army while the governor spent twelve days collecting the ransom in 
the city. During that period the Romans sent stores, supplies and fodder to the 
Muslims. When the money, robes and weapons were all collected the governor took 
them to Abu 'Ubaydah & and said to him, "Take what was agreed upon and leave 
the men. Now choose your representative so that we can tell him in your presence 
that it is not permissible for him to attack us nor to demand that which we are not 
capable of nor will he enter our city." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b called one of the chiefs of Quraysh, Rafi' bin 'Abdillah as-Sahmi 
and said, "O Rafi' bin 'Abdillah, I am appointing you over this city and am giving 
you 500 horsemen of your tribe and 400 others. I command you to do whatever Allah 
has commanded you to do. So fear Allah as He should be feared and rule with 
justice. Beware of tyranny and oppression, lest you be resurrected amongst the 
tyrants. Bear in mind that Allah will question you about them and take you to task 
for whatever you take wrongfully. I have heard Rasulullah iH saying, Verily Allah, 
Most Blessed and High revealed unto Musd bin Imrdn, peace be upon him, 'O 
Musal Do not oppress my slaves for it will be as if you have destroyed your own 
house yourself. ' 

Establish your camp on the outskirts of the city. Be alert! You are amongst enemies. 
I warn you against the people of the coast. Send raiding expeditions against them in 
parties of 100 and 200. Do not allow any of the Ba'labakkis to join you for that might 


Part 2: Hints 

lead to enemies getting ideas and attacking you (with their help). Be good to 
whoever helps you and command with justice. Be as one with them. Order your men 
and companions to refrain from corruption and oppression against the citizens. Allah 
is watching you on my behalf. Was-salam 'Alayka." 

43) The price of greed 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& intended heading for Hims when the governor of 'Ayn al-Jawz 
arrived to offer his surrender. His war-fine was fixed at half that which Ba'labakk had 
paid and Salim bin Thuayb as-Sulami was appointed as governor over them. Abu 
'Ubaydah <$> advised him as he had advised Rafi' bin 'Abdillah and then departed for 
Hims. Midway between ar-Ras and al-Kafilah he met the governor of Jusiyah who 
offered many gifts and terms of surrender. He then continued until he reached Hims. 

Habban bin Tamim ath-Thaqafi narrates: 

I was amongst those who remained behind with Rafi' bin 'Abdillah. We erected tents 
of camel hair with pillars outside the city. None of us would enter Ba'labakk. We 
continued raiding the coastal Romans and Christian 'Arabs who had not entered into 
a treaty with us. After every expedition we would sell our booty to the Ba'labakkis 
who were very pleased with our buying and selling and earned an enormous profit in 
a short period. They discovered that we are a people who do not deceive or lie or 
desire to wrong anybody and thus they were pleased with us. 

When their patrician, Herbius, saw the great profit they were making from us and the 
low price they were buying at, he gathered them in the Ba'labakk Cathedral which is 
today the Jami' Masjid. When they gathered at the appointed time he said to all the 
traders, businessmen and marketers, "You know that I have made great effort for 
your sake and anxiously desire your well-being, as well as your wives' and children's 
welfare. You also know what money I have lost. Today I am but one of you. I 
surrendered my wealth and weapons and most of my slaves, men and cousins were 
killed, whereas you people have gained so much from the 'Arabs through your trade. 
I had to pay a full quarter of the fine all on my own. 

Ba 'labakkis : You have spoken the truth. We accept all that you have described, but 
what do you want now? 

Patrician : I will not trouble you to give me your wealth or of what is in your homes. 
However, you can render me a one-tenth share of your trade. 



They were absolutely astounded at this proposal but said, "This man is one of us and 
a companion of our Emperor. He made great effort for us and defended our lives and 
wealth. Perhaps he deserves a share of our wealth." 

They then accepted his proposal of a one-tenth share. He appointed an agent who 
collected the one-tenth from them and brought it to him. 

When this collection of the one-tenth continued for forty days Herbius saw what a 
great amount was accumulating and said, "How much this city is earning; how 
profitable the trade is! I have never seen Ba'labakk in this state before." 

He gathered them for a second time in the cathedral and said, "O people, you know 
how much I spent to pay your indemnity and this one-tenth does not suffice me. If 
you consider me to be one of you and wish to compensate my loss then give me now 
one-quarter of your trade so that I can swiftly be compensated, otherwise how long 
will the mere one-tenth take to compensate me for the loss of my wealth, weapons 
and men?" The traders refused and raised a hue and cry. They unsheathed their 
weapons and cut his men to shreds in the street, raising a great noise. The Muslims 
did not know what was happening and were alarmed at the commotion. They 
therefore gathered before the governor, Rafi' bin 'Abdillah as-Sahml and said, "O 
commander, do you not hear the noises of these people in the city?" 

Rdfi ' : I heard just as you heard. What can I do when it is not permissible for us to 
enter the city? That was their condition for surrendering and we are more 
responsible to Allah for fulfilling vows. If they come out to us and inform us of what 
is happening then we will reconcile between them and see to their welfare. 

Rafi' had hardly finished speaking when the Ba'labakkis came rushing to him. They 
stood in front of him and said, "We seek God's protection and yours," and informed 
him of all that had transpired and what the patrician had done on both occasions. 

Rdfi ' : We have no say in this matter. 

Ba'labakkis : We have already slain him and all of his men. 

The Sahabah 4 were upset at that. 

Rdfi. ' : So what do you want now, O people of Ba'labakk? 

Ba 'labakkis : We want you to enter the city, for we now permit you to enter. 

Rdfi ' : I have no authority to do that unless my commander, Abu 'Ubaydah, permits 


Part 2: Hims 

He then wrote a full report to Abu 'Ubaydah 4t who authorised his entry. 

44) Abu 'Ubaydah 's 4b ultimatum 

Mfisa bin 'Amir narrates from Yunus bin 'Abdillah who narrates from Salini 
bin 'Adi who narrates from his grandfather, 'Abdurahman bin Muslim ar- 
Rabi'i who was amongst those who participated in the conquest of Syria from 
the beginning to the end: 

Allah had conquered Ba'labakk at the hands of the Muslims. Abu 'Ubaydah left Rati' 
bin 'Abdillah at Ba'labakk and went to meet up with Khalid bin al-Walid at Hims. 
When he came near to az-Zura'ah, which is near Hims, he tied a black flag with 
traces of white and gave it to Maysarah bin Masruq al-'Absi, putting him in charge 
of the vanguard consisting of 5,000 Muslim horsemen. Upon Maysarah's arrival at 
Hims, Khalid «fe came out to meet him and those Muslims with him. 

Thereafter Abu 'Ubaydah «fc sent Dirar & with 5,000 cavalry and then sent ' Amr bin 
Ma'dikarab ■*>. He himself led the remainder of the army and upon seeing Hims 
exclaimed, "O Allah, hasten our victory against her and leave the Disbelievers 
without help." 

The Muslims all came out to welcome him and those with him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & encamped at the river-bend and then wrote the following letter to 
the people of Hims and their new governor, also called Herbius: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : Abu 'Ubaydah, governor of Syria for the Commander of 
the Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattdb, and general of his armies. 

Allah has conquered your lands for us. The greatness of your 
city should not delude you, nor should the strength of your 
buildings or the numbers of your men. Once war comes then 
your city is nothing to us except like an earthenware pot which 
we will put in the middle of our army and fill with meat. Our 
entire army will then eagerly anticipate eating therefrom. We are 



already circling the pot waiting for the meat to be cooked so that 
we can eat it. 

We call you to that Din which our Rabb, Most Honourable and 
Majestic, is pleased with for us. If you accept then we will 
depart from you and leave some men behind to teach you the 
Din and whatever Allah Most High has ordained upon you. If 
Islam is not acceptable to you then we will impose Jizyah upon 
you. If you refuse to accept Islam and refuse to pay Jizyah, then 
come and battle us until Allah decides the outcome and He is the 
best of all deciders. 

He folded the letter and gave it to a Disbeliever who was under Muslim rule. He 
knew both 'Arabic and Greek. Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> said to him, "Take this to Hims and 
return with a reply." 

The messenger took it and went until he reached the city walls. The Romans wanted 
to shoot arrows and fling rocks at him, so he shouted in Greek, "O people, I am under 
the protection of the 'Arabs. I have brought a message to you from them." 

They extended a rope down to him which he tied around his waist. They hoisted him 
up and took him to the governor. Standing humbly before the governor, he delivered 
the letter to him. 

Governor : Have you abandoned your faith for that of the 'Arabs? 

Messenger : No, but I, my wife and children are under their rule and protection. I 
have found them to be very good people. I sincerely advise you not to fight them, 
because they are great warriors who do not fear death and do not flee from it. They 
are steadfast upon their religion and prefer death to life. They have sworn that they 
will not leave your city until either you surrender or God grants them victory. I take 
oath in the name of my religion that you are more beloved unto me than them and I 
hope that victory will go your way, not theirs, but I really fear for you once they 
attack. So surrender to be safe or else you will live to regret your refusal. 


Part 2: Hims 

45) Attack on Hims 

These words angered the governor who said, "By Christ! Were you not a messenger 
I would have ordered your tongue to be cut off for your audacity against us." 

After reading the letter he dictated a reply to his scribe. He began with his utterances 
of Disbelief and then said, "O 'Arabs, we have received your letter and understood 
its warnings, threats and promises. However, we are not like those whom you met 
before us in Syria. Caesar Heraclius himself seeks our help against his enemies and 
against those who send armies against him. We now find war against you 
unavoidable. Our city walls are impregnable, our gates are iron and our battle 
stubborn. Greetings." 

He folded the letter and gave it to Abu 'Ubaydah's & messenger, ordering his men 
to lower him down the wall with ropes. The messenger returned to Abu 'Ubaydah & 
and delivered the letter to him. He tore it open and read it. 

When the Muslims heard the contents of the letter they prepared for war. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4& divided them into four divisions. One division was sent under al- 
Mussayib bin Najiyah al-Fazari to the Mountain Gate which is situated next to the 
Small Gate. The second, under al-Mirqal bin Hisham bin 'Uqbah bin 'Abi Waqqas, 
proceeded to the Rastan Gate. The third, under Yazid bin Abi Sufyan, went to the 
Syria Gate. Abu 'Ubaydah *fe and Khalid <&. took the last group to the Small Gate. 

The Muslims launched the assault from all directions. They fought for the 
remainder of the day. Both sides showered arrows at each other but the 'Arabs were 
able to deflect the Roman arrows with their shields whilst on the other hand, the 
Romans suffered much from the 'Arab onslaught. At night-fall both sides retired 
from the battle. 

46) The second day 

The next day Khalid <& ordered all slaves to arm themselves with swords and 
shields.They were to attack the city walls with their swords and deflect the arrows 
with their shields. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : And how will this benefit us, O Abu Sulayman? 

Khalid 4i> : Please do not oppose me in this. I have resolved to fight them with slaves 
to show them that we regard them to be so worthless that we will not even fight them 
ourselves unless they themselves come out against us. 



Abu 'Ubaydah # : Do as you please for Allah Most High guides you. 

Khalid 4» then ordered the 4,000 slaves to attack the wall and ordered 1,000 'Arabs 
to follow them. They mounted the attack. They struck with their swords and shot 
arrows, some of which hit and some of which broke. 

The governor of Hims came to the wall. His generals and senior officers, 
surrounded him. He observed the Muslim attacks and remarked, "O my generals, by 
Christ! I did not think that 'Arabs looked like this. They are all black." 

One of those who had escaped from Ajnadayn said, "Sir, these are not 'Arabs but 
their slaves. They have sent their slaves to fight us as a strategy to show us that in 
their eyes we are not even worth the effort for them to personally fight us." 

The governor replied, "By Christ! These people are even more dangerous than the 
'Arabs and more firm-footed. Beware. If they should reach the wall its defences will 
be of no consideration to them and they will soon gain victory." 

The slaves fought intensely for the rest of the day and launched several assaults 
against the gates. When night fell they returned to the Muslim camp. The governor 
sent a messenger to Abu 'Ubaydah 4% while some fighting continued in the darkness. 
When the Muslims sensed him they wanted to kill him. He called out, "I am the 
messenger of the patrician Herbius, governor of Hims. I want a reply to this letter." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe took the letter and read it. It read as follows : 

'Arabs! We thought that you people had some kind of 
intelligence whereby you could plan war tactics and obtain 
victory. What a pity that it is not so! On the first day you spread 
out against all our gates and so we said, "This will be a severe 
siege! We will suffer much! " The next day you sent those poor 
little wretches to fight us. All they achieved was to break their 
own swords and weapons. Had I only known what great damage 
your little swords could do to our walls! It is now clear to us that 
you are quite weak-minded and know nothing at all of strategy. 

1 therefore give you some advice which will benefit both parties. 
You should fight Caesar himself conquering what is ahead of 
you just as you had conquered what is behind you. You will 


Part 2: Hims 

avoid troubling us and wronging us for it will only return to you 
to kill you. Otherwise we will come out to fight you in the 
morning and God will help whoever is on the Truth from 
amongst us. 

47) 'Ata's <$> scheme 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& consulted the Muslims with regards to the letter. A chief of 
Khath'am, 'Ata bin 'Amr al-Kath'ami <& was also present. He was advanced in age; 
had performed the Migration to al-Madmah at an early stage; was intelligent; and had 
led and organised many armies. He sprang to his feet upon hearing the contents of 
the letter and said, "Listen to me carefully for what I say will benefit the Muslims. 
Allah has always guided what I say." 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : Speak, O Ibn 'Amr. We recognise you to be a well-wisher of the 

'Ata 4f> went to him and whispered, "May Allah keep the commander in a good state! 
These people have had intelligence on your coming long before and their governor 
is braver and more cunning than his predecessors. They knew of the conquest of 
Ba'labakk and deduced that you would definitely besiege them next. They therefore 
stocked up with food, fodder, equipment and men, not leaving behind a scrap of food 
in the villages and countryside. They have enough to survive on for years. If we 
besiege them it will be protracted just as in the case of Damascus. I believe that you 
should trick them with a strategy. If this strategy works we will conquer this city 
quickly, if Allah wills." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* : O Ibn 'Amr, what is your strategy? 

'Ata & : We should write to them asking them for supplies and fodder in exchange 
for us leaving them to conquer other cities. With their supplies thus depleted they will 
have to spread out in the cities to trade. That is when we will raid whoever comes out 
resulting in their numbers becoming fewer and weaker and a decrease in their 
supplies and fodder. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> : Your opinion is correct. I will do as you have mentioned and hope 
for Allah's guidance and help. 

He called for ink and paper and replied to the letter as follows : 



In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

I see benefit in your proposal for ourselves as well as you. We 
do not desire to wrong any of Allah 's slaves. However, you know 
that our army, horses and camels are numerous so if you want 
us to depart send for us five days 'worth of supplies for you know 
that the road ahead of us is quite long and that we will not meet 
anything after you except strong forts with iron gates. If you 
supply us we will be able to reach one of the Syrian cities. As 
you have proposed we will first conquer some other city and 
then return. If you do this it will be beneficial to you. 

He then folded the letter and gave it to the messenger who delivered it to the 
governor. The governor was pleased at the reply and after gathering all his officials 
and priests, said, "Know that the 'Arabs have sent a message requesting food and 
provisions so that they may depart from you. The 'Arabs are like a beast of prey 
which does not leave alone a prey it has found. Hunger has gripped them here and if 
we feed them they will leave you alone." 

Romans : We fear that the 'Arabs will take the provisions and fodder but will not 
leave us. 

Governor : We will obtain guarantees and promises that when you order them to 
depart they will obey. 

Romans : Do what you feel to be correct, but extract from them the guarantees for 
you and for us. 

The governor then called the priests and monks and ordered them to go to Abu 
'Ubaydah <& to obtain his word that the Muslims would leave when ordered to. They 
departed via the Rastan Gate. Upon meeting AM 'Ubaydah <& they extracted 
promises from him to withdraw when ordered to and not to return until conquering a 
city of Syria, be it in the East or West or on the coast or in the mountains. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4s> replied, "I am pleased with those terms and conclude the treaty upon 

48) Provisions and unexpected results 

The people of Hims then took out of their stocks a massive quantity of provisions and 
fodder for the Muslims, enough to suffice them for five days. Abu 'Ubaydah <$> went 


Part 2: Hims 

to them and said, "0 people of Hims, we have accepted what you have brought us, 
but will you not sell us more?" 

"We will certainly do that," replied the Romans. 

Abu 'Ubaydah >& then announced to the Muslims, "Buy provisions and fodder and 
buy as much as possible, for ahead of you is a long road without provisions." 

Muslims : With what will we buy provisions and how will we carry them? 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& : Whoever has anything with him of the booty acquired from the 
Romans should use it to buy provisions and fodder. 

Hassan bin 'Adi al-Ghatfani narrates: 

May Allah lighten Abu 'Ubaydah's reckoning on the Day of Judgement just as he 
lightened the rugs and velvety carpets which burdened us and our animals. We 
exchanged these burdens for provisions and fodder from the people of Hims. The 
'Arabs were so liberal in their buying and selling that the Romans would buy 
twenty dinar worth of goods for a mere two dinar. The Romans were happy that the 
'Arabs were departing and grew greedy for these cheap purchases and so 
continuously purchased for three days. 

The Romans had spies and informants in the Muslim army. When they saw that Hims 
had opened its gates and was supplying the Muslims they thought that Hims had 
surrendered. They therefore fled towards Antioch. Whenever they passed through a 
Roman city or fort they said, "Hims has peacefully surrendered to the 'Arabs." 

Whoever heard this increased in fear and terror and this was a gift from Allah to the 
Muslims. There were forty spies of whom three went to Shayzar and spread the news 

49) Conquest with crates 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& took the army to ar-Rastan which he found to be heavily fortified 
and had an abundant supply of water. The city was filled with men and equipment. 
He sent a messenger demanding that they surrender. They refused and said, "We will 
not surrender until we see how the matter ends between you and Heraclius. 
Thereafter whatever happens, happens with the will of God." 



He responded, "We are going to fight Heraclius. We are many men and are burdened 
with much baggage. We therefore want to leave it in trust with you until we return." 

They went to their governor, Nikita, to consult him in that matter. He replied, "0 
people, kings and armies have always left their goods by us and that has never 
harmed us in any way." He then sent this message to Abu 'Ubaydah <&, "We will 
fulfil whatever your need is but stipulate that you show full consideration to the 
people who reside in our rural districts." 

Abu 'Ubaydah •& : We will do that, Allah willing. 

Thabit bin Qays bin 'Alqamah narrates: 

I was with Abu 'Ubaydah <&• at that time. He called those Sahabah of Rasulullah S 
whom he would consult with and said, "This is a strong, impregnable fort. We 
cannot conquer it except through some trick. I am sending about twenty of you in 
crates which will have the locks inside. Once the twenty are inside the city they will 
come out of the crates and attack. Verily they will be victorious against the 
Disbelievers who live in the city. 

Khdlid 4is : If you have decided that, well and good. However, put fake locks on the 
outside to avoid suspicion but the lid should in reality be at the bottom without any 
restraints. Once they enter the city they should all spring out and attack together 
proclaiming, "Allahu Akbar," for indeed this declaration has a deep connection with 
obtaining victory. 

Abu 'Ubaydah * accepted this and implemented this plan with crates of food 
received from the Romans. The first to enter a crate was Dirar 4» followed by al- 
Musayyib bin Najiyah, Thul Kala' al-Himyari, 'Amr bin Ma'dikarab, al-Mirqal, 
Hisham bin Najiyah, Qays bin Hubayrah, 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr, Malik bin al- 
Ashtar, Awf bin Salim, Sabir bin Kalkal, Mazin bin 'Amir, al-Asyad bin Salamah, 
Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, 'Ikra'mah bin Abi Jahl, 'Utbah bin al-'As, Darim bin Fayyad al- 
'Absi, Salamah bin Habib, al-Fari' bin Harmalah, Nawfal bin Jar'al, Jundub bin Sayf 
and 'Abdullah bin Ja'far who was appointed as commander. 

The crates were delivered to the Romans. Once they were brought inside the city, 
Nikita had them stored in his palace. Abu 'Ubaydah 4s then left until he reached a 
town called, as-Sudiyah. At night- fall he sent Khalid 4&> with the vanguard back to ar- 
Rastan to see what had befallen the Sahabah & in the crates. When they reached the 
bridge they heard shouts of, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" coming from the city. 


Part 2: Hints 

50) Conquest of ar-Rastan 

After Nikita had placed them in the palace he left with his patricians for the chapel 
to render thanks for the 'Arabs leaving them without a fight. The Sahabah 4k could 
hear them reciting the Bible and emerged from the crates, bracing themselves. 
Unsheathing their weapons, they seized Nikita's wife and concubines and said, "We 
want the keys to the gates." 

When she gave them the keys they raised cries of, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" 
and recited salutations upon Rasulullah S. The Romans were taken by surprise and 
did not come out against the Muslims because they were unprepared and unarmed. 
Ibn Ja'far 4b sent Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, al-Asyad bin Salamah, 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl, 
'Utbah bin al-'As and al-Fari' bin Harmalah with the keys and said, "Open the gates 
and raise your voices with 'La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!' Your Muslim brethren 
are completely around the city." 

The five went to the nearest gate, the Hims Gate, and opened it with cries of, "La 
ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" They found themselves face-to-face with the vanguard 
under Khalid & who replied with, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" and entered the 

When the Romans heard the shouts of the Sahabah of Rasulullah S they knew that 
they had been overcome and that the city was now out of their hands. They came to 
the Muslims to surrender saying, "We will not fight you. We are now your 
prisoners, so be just unto us for you are more beloved unto us than our own nation." 

Khalid 4& presented them with Islam. Many accepted but the majority preferred 
paying Jizyah. As for Nikita, he said, "I have no desire to change my religion." 

Khalid 4s> : Then leave with your family and tell your nation about our justice. 

The Muslims expelled him from the city and he took his family and wealth with him 
to Hims, informing the people there of his city's conquest. Anxiety set in and they 
feared 'Arab raids against them. 

Khalid 4» sent Ibn Ja'far <$> to inform Abu 'Ubaydah 4& of the victory. He fell into 
prostration to Allah and sent a force of 1,000 men under Hilal bin Murrah al- 
Yushkuri to garrison the city. After the garrisoning, Khalid 4$ and Ibn Jafar #> 
departed for Hamah. Shayzar had also surrendered, but upon the patrician's death 
Heraclius quickly appointed a new governor, Niks, a tyrant who severely oppressed 
the Shayzaris and cancelled the treaty. He made life difficult for them, confiscated 



their wealth and paid no attention to their needs, being too absorbed in his eating and 

51) Rebellion in Shayzar 

When AM 'Ubaydah <& was informed of this he despatched a squadron of horsemen 
who raided Shayzar. A great tumult resulted. The governor came out of the fort and 
gathered all the leaders in the cathedral and said, "O people of Shayzar, you know 
that Caesar has appointed me over you to protect your city, wealth and women folk." 
He then opened the armoury and distributed the contents amongst them, ordering 
them to fight. In the meanwhile KMlid 4fe suddenly appeared with the vanguard 
followed by Yazid bin Abi Sufyan «fc and then Abu 'Ubaydah & with the rest of the 
army. The Romans were terrified and bewildered. 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4& saw them in this state he wrote the following letter : 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

O people of Shayzar! Your fort is no stronger than Ba'labakk 
nor ar-Rastan, nor are your men any braver. Once you have 
read my letter you should immediately surrender or else a great 
calamity will afflict you. You are already aware of our justice 
and good character so become like the other cities under our 
rule and surrender just as the rest of Syria has. Was-saldm. 

He folded the letter and gave it to one of the subject Disbelievers to deliver it to them. 
Once it was delivered and read to the governor he said, "What do you say, O people 
of Shayzar, with regard to what the 'Arabs say?" 

Shayzaris : O great patrician, the 'Arabs have spoken the truth. Our fort is not 
stronger than ar-Rastan, Ba'labakk, Damascus or Busra. You are well acquainted 
with the strength of Hims and the singular bravery, yet even they had to reach an 
agreement with the 'Arabs. So have the Palestinians and Jordanians with all their 
strongholds. So how can our little fort of Shayzar resist them? If you oppose the 
'Arabs then you will be the cause of our destruction and our city's ruin. 

They began a heated debate wherein Niks began to swear at the Shayzaris and then 
ordered his men to beat them up. This infuriated them. They drew their weapons and 


Part 2: Hims 

attacked him and his men. The Muslims became aware of this battle ensuing between 
the two Roman parties and said, "O Allah, let them destroy themselves." 

Eventually the citizens gained victory over their enemies and killed every one of 
them. They then deputed some unarmed men to meet Abu 'Ubaydah «&. Standing in 
front of him, they greeted him and said, "O commander, we have killed our patrician 
out of love for you." 

Abu 'Ubaydah * : O people of Shayzar, may Allah whiten your faces and shower 
your sustenance upon you. You have sufficed us for battle. 

He then turned to the Muslims and said, "Do you not see how obedient these Romans 
are, what they did to their governor out of love for you and how they willingly come 
to obey you? I believe that some kind of reward is due to them." 

Muslims : Yes, and how you treat them will spread to other places which might help 
our conquests if Allah wills. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : Glad tidings, O people of Shayzar. Whoever wishes to enter our 
Din without being forced to will receive the same rights and duties as we have and 
will be exempt from land-tax for two years. Whoever remains on his old religion will 
be exempt from land-tax for a full year but will still pay Jizyah. 

Shazaris (overjoyed) : O commander, we hear and obey. This is the palace of the 
patrician to which you are more entitled than him. We give it to you as a gift 
together with all the slaves, vessels and wealth it contains. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& took out the one-fifth share due to the State, divided the rest 
equally amongst the Muslims and said, "O Muslims, Allah has conquered this city 
through you easily and effortlessly. On the other hand, Hims is rebellious towards 
you although you have fulfilled your obligations to them. So now let us go against 
them. May Allah have mercy upon you." 

52) The great Christian coalition 

The Muslims mounted their horses intending to go, when they saw a cloud of dust 
rising from behind the river bend coming from the direction of the Antioch road and 
was widely spread out. The Muslims rushed towards it and found a high-ranking 
Roman cleric with 100 loaded Turkish horses and 100 guards. He did not know about 
the coming of the Muslims. 



Khalid &> called out, "Allahu Akbar!" and the Muslims charged and surrounded 
them. They took the Christians prisoner and seized the Turkish horses. Khalid * 
went to the priest and said, "Woe unto you! From where have you brought this?" 

The priest babbled something in Greek which Khalid » did not understand. A 
Shayzari came and said, "O commander, he says that he is a senior cleric of Heraclius 
who sent him with this consignment to Herbius. These goods consist of red brocade 
woven with gold and ten loads of dinar and the rest is either robes or dinar." 

The Muslims took the goods as booty which was of such a quantity that they had not 
obtained before. 

Khalid 4b took the booty to Abu 'Ubaydah 4* at Shayzar's river-bend. He was 
wrapped up in a cotton cloak and had his head similarly covered to protect himself 
from the heat of the sun. Khalid 4» made the priest stand in front of Abu 'Ubaydah 
4a who asked, "What is this, O Abu Sulayman?" 

Khalid & : They have brought gifts from Antioch from Heraclius to Herbius, 
governor of Hims. 

He presented Abu 'Ubaydah & with the booty. He was very pleased and exclaimed, 
"O Abu Sulayman, the conquest of Shayzar has resulted in many blessings." He then 
asked the translator who was constantly with him, "Ask them about the tyrant, 
Heraclius Caesar. Has he gathered a large army around him or not?" 

The translator and the priest spoke for a while. The priest said, "Tell your commander 
that Caesar has been informed of your conquests of Damascus, Ba'labakk and 
Jusiyah and that you have not yet overcome Hims. He therefore sent me with these 
gifts for Herbius, governor of Hims and ordered him to resist you for he is sending 
reinforcements to him. Caesar had requested reinforcements from all who worship 
the Cross and read the Bible. He has received positive responses from the Romans, 
Slavs, Franks, Armenians, Mongols, the Georgians, the Duqas, Greeks, the 'Alf, the 
Gharanah, Italians and whoever carries the cross. These armies have already reached 
Heraclius from every direction." 

When this was translated for Abu 'Ubaydah 4* he became anxious, but still offered 
the priest Islam. The priest told the translator, "Tell him that last night I saw 
Rasulullah $ in a dream and have already embraced Islam at his hands." Abu 
'Ubaydah 4» was delighted and offered the guards Islam. Upon their refusal he had 
them beheaded. 


Part 2: Hints 

53) Return to Hims 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* then headed for Hims. A detachment of cavalry formed his 
vanguard. They began raiding the Romans of Hims who fled to the city, locked the 
gates and said, "By Christ! The 'Arabs have deceived us." The Muslims sealed Hims 
off from all directions. Her provisions had been spent and most of the inhabitants had 
gone to trade and to acquire provisions and were thus spread out in the lands. 

Upon reaching Hims, Abu 'Ubaydah 4» ordered the slaves and freed-slaves to spread 
out in all the roads and check-points, and said to them, "Bring me whoever you find 
returning to Hims with provisions or merchandise." They obeyed him and this made 
life difficult for Herbius. He therefore wrote the following letter to Abu 'Ubaydah <&: 

"O 'Arabs! We did not know that you are deceptive and break your word. Did 
you not agree to leave us in exchange for provisions? You then sought to 
trade with us which we happily agreed to, so why have you now broken our 
agreement? " 

Abu 'Ubaydah * wrote back: 

"I want you to send to me those priests and monks you had previously sent 
so that I can establish what terms I agreed to and then they can prove to you 
that we had not deceived you nor had we broken our word, for people like us 
do not do that, Allah willing. " 

After reading the letter, Herbius sent the priests and monks to Abu 'Ubaydah <&. 
They greeted him and sat down in front of him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : Do you not know that I had made an agreement with you and 
promised to leave you until I conquer one of the cities of Syria, be it on the coast or 
in the mountains? Thereafter I would have a choice of whether I want to return to you 
or go elsewhere. 

Romans : By Christ! Certainly. 

Abu 'Ubaydah &> : Allah has conquered for us ar-Rastan and Shayzar in the shortest 
span of time. He has granted us the booty of the patrician Niks and more besides that 
which we could not have hoped to acquire in such a short while. So now you have 
no promise to hold against us and there is no longer any peace except that you 
surrender your city and accept our rule and protection. 



Romans : You have spoken the truth. There is no blame against you. We have heard 
of your conquests and the fault lies with us for making such an agreement in the first 
place. The matter now rests with our governor to whom we shall report. 

They then returned to Hims. Abu 'Ubaydah .&> called his warriors and said, "Get your 
gear for these people are without any provision and cannot receive immediate help 
from Heraclius. So seek help from Allah and place your reliance on Him." 

The Muslims collected their weapons and gear and returned to the gates and walls of 

54) Hims resists 

The Romans went to the governor and said, "What should we do about the 'Arabs?" 

Governor : We should fight them and should not show them any weakness. 

Romans : Our provisions are gone. They took them. We have never heard of such a 
trick before. 

Governor : Why are you acting so helpless towards them? They have not killed or 
wounded a single one of you. Besides their raids, no difficulty or hunger has 
afflicted you. Even if they should reach the city they will not be able to overcome 
you. A few men on the wall will be able to hold them off for you. As for provisions 
I have enough in my palace to support many of you for a long period. Caesar will not 
neglect you. News of your condition will soon reach him and he will despatch armies 
to help you. 

The governor had an enormous pit in his palace filled with food. He began 
distributing it to them all, high or low, for the remainder of the day and so they 
calmed down. All the people of Hims were in straitened conditions so half of the 
stock was distributed on the first day. The governor then said, "Be satisfied for three 
days with what I have given you and go and fight your enemy." When they got their 
battle-gear he selected 5,000 unequalled descendants of al-Zarawiz and al-'Amaliqah 
including 1,000 of the royal Madbajah family. He opened the armoury of his 
grandfather, Sergius, and distributed armour, shields, helmets, head-gear, bows, 
arrows and spears. He encouraged them to fight and promised them reinforcements 
from Heraclius. He then called the priests and monks and said to them, "Make your 
preparations and pray unto Christ to help us against the 'Arabs. There is no barrier 
against your supplications, nor will you be rejected." They entered the Great 
Cathedral of Sergius - which is today the Jami' Masjid - and began singing psalms, 


Part 2: Hints 

shedding tears and uttering their words of Disbelief. In that manner they spent the 
whole night. 

In the morning the governor entered the Cathedral and performed the sacrifice and 
Prayer of the Dead. He returned to his palace where he was presented with roast pork. 
He ate all of it then drank wine from a gold and silver vessel until his eyes turned in 
his skull. He then dressed in brocade with fur trimmed edges. Thereafter he put on 
small double chain-mail. On top of that he donned armour made of red gold and hung 
a cross studded with sapphire around his neck and an Indian sword at his waist. A 
huge mountainous-like stallion was brought. He mounted it and left his palace, 
heading for Rastan Gate. His men came and surrounded him from all sides. 

55) Battle of Hims 

The gates of Hims were opened and the Romans emerged with all their numbers, 
equipment, flags and crosses. In front of Herbius were 5,000 horsemen wearing 
layered chain-mail. He arranged them in rows in front of the city as if they were an 
iron wall or a solid rock. They were ready to die and give up their wealth and 

The Muslims advanced like a swarm of locusts and launched a heavy attack against 
them, but they stayed firm like rocks, not moving and not bothering with what befell 
them. The governor then shouted out so they advanced, shouting at each other. The 
Muslims mounted their horses, attacked and shot arrows at them. The two armies 
became intertwined, fighting most intensely. The Muslims turned back in defeat with 
many dead or wounded. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & was grieved to see the Muslims being defeated and called out, "O 
children of the Quran, return! Return! May Allah bless you." The Muslims returned 
to fight and attacked the Christians most violently. Khalid * led a large contingent 
of Banu Makhzum in an attack in which they hacked the enemy with swords and 
pierced them with spears, grinding them like wheat is ground into flour. The Muslims 
thus worked their swords amongst the Romans. 

Ibn Masruq al-'Absi led his tribe, Banu 'Abs, in an attack, all the while reciting, "La 
ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" They beat the Romans so badly that they began 
retreating to the wall after suffering many deaths. There they began babbling in 
Greek and returned once again against the Muslims. They surrounded the Muslims 
from all sides and shot arrows at them and pierced them with spears. The Muslims 
were in grave danger. 



When Khalid <&, who was the flag-bearer at the Battle of Hims saw this, he charged 
ahead with the flag and called out to his men, "Intensify your attacks against them. 
May Allah bless you. Herein lies benefit for your world and your hereafter." While 
Khalid 4$ was encouraging his men, a high-ranking general with formidable upper- 
body armour attacked him, roaring like a lion. Khalid * aimed his sword at the 
general's head but hit his helmet instead. His blade snapped off and went flying in 
the air leaving Khalid <& holding a mere handle. The Roman saw this and entertained 
hopes against him. They tackled each other, shoulder-to-shoulder and arm-to-arm 
until Khalid 4fc began hugging his chest and then squeezed with all his might until he 
snapped the Roman's ribs and twisted them into each other. He then flung him down 
dead. Taking the Roman's sword, he cut off his head and waved the sword until 
sparks flew and put the head on his saddle bow. Then shouting at Banu Makhzum, 
he led them in another heavy attack at the Roman centre, scattering them left and 
right and loudly saying, "I am the valiant horseman Khalid bin al-Walid, the Sahabi 
of Rasulullah ®." 

The battle continued with unequalled intensity until midday. Khalid's <$> armour 
grew too hot for him so he withdrew from the battle. Banu Makhzum followed him. 
Blood filled their armour and flowed over their arms until it appeared purple. Khalid 
4b, at the front, recited this poem: 

Woe to the hordes of Rome on the day of fighting 

Indeed I see war in it blazing. 

How many times have they met from us occasions of exhaution 

How many times have I left the Romans in destruction. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe called out, "Praise be to Allah, O Abu Sulayman, praise be to 
Allah! You have waged Jihad for the sake of Allah as it should be waged." 

56) Martyrdom of Ikramah 4fc 

Al-Mirqal bin HisMm noticed some negligence on the part of the Romans. He called 
out to Banu Zuhrah and attacked the Roman right flank while Maysarah bin Masrftq 
al-'Absi took Banu 'Abs to fight their left flank. 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl * together 


Part 2: Hints 

with a large group of Banfl Makhzum attacked the Romans. The other Muslims, now 
convinced of victory, also attacked . 

None fought more fiercely and violently at the Battle of Hims than Banu Makhzum. 
Amongst them 'Ikramah bin 'Abi Jahl # fought most fiercely and led the attack. He 
took on many Romans all on his own. Someone said to him, "Fear Allah and have 
compassion on yourself." 

'Ikramah 4» responded, "O people, I used to fight on behalf of idols whereas today I 
am fighting in obedience to the All-Knowing King. I already see the virgin damsels 
of Paradise desiring me. Were one of them to appear before the people of the world 
they would no longer need the sun and moon. Rasulullah ft was indeed true in what 
he promised us." 

He then unsheathed his sword and plunged into the Romans continuously 
penetrating into their ranks until they were utterly bewildered at his steadfastness and 
fighting prowess. The governor himself came to fight him. In his hand he carried a 
huge glittering spear which he brandished in his hand and thrust into'Ikramah's 4» 
heart until it penetrated right out of his back. He collapsed on the ground and Allah 
hastened his soul to Paradise. When Khalid 4s> saw his cousin in that state he rushed 
to him. Standing over him he wept, saying, "If only 'Umar bin al-Khattab could see 
my cousin lying like this he would know that we mount spear-points like other 
people mount horses." 

The terrifying scenes of the battle continued until night-fall. The Romans then 
returned to Hims, locked the gates and kept watch from the city walls. The Muslims 
returned to their camp and also kept watch. 

57) Khalid's * plan 

In the morning Abu 'Ubaydah 4& called out, "O Muslims, what is stopping you from 
going against these people? You had hopes of defeating them but they defeated you 
and you fear them. Allah had given you great ease and peace and made you 
victorious against the generals of Rome and conquered forts and castles for you. 
What is this weakness now? Beware! Allah is watching you." 

Khalid <&> '■ These Roman horsemen are the strongest of warriors. There are no lowly 
ones or cowards amongst them. You also know that they are more inspired to defend 
their children and women. 



Abu 'Ubaydah 4lb : Then what is your view, Abu Sulayman? May Allah have mercy 
on you. 

Khdlid * : We should withdraw from here leaving our sheep and camels behind. 
They will certainly come after us, but once we are far from their city we can stab with 
spears all those who have come to chase us and hack their backs with swords for they 
will be far away from the safety of their city. 

Abu 'Ubaydah $> : You have given a good suggestion, O Abu Sulayman. 

It was established amongst the Muslims that they would retreat and leave behind 
their animals. The Romans came pouring out of all the gates of Hims looking 
forward to the battle. The 'Arabs asked for a cease-fire and pretended to be weak and 
afraid. The Roman hopes grew and they refrained from attacking until later in the 
morning when the sun was fully out, thinking it to be a good time to attack. The 
'Arabs retreated leaving behind their sheep. 

Nawfal bin 'Amir narrates from ' Artajah bin Majid at-Tamimi who narrates 
from Suraqah an-Nakha'i who had participated in the Battle of Hims: 

The governor and his 5,000 elite warriors pursued the retreating 'Arabs. We retreated 
as if we were fleeing for az-Zura'ah and Jusiyah. The governor reached us, but some 
of his men had gone, distracted by our goods which we had left behind. 

There lived in Hims an aged priest .The Romans greatly respected him. He was very 
experienced in worldly matters and knew all about trickery and deception. He was a 
scholar of the Torah, the Bible, the Psalms of David (Dawud SBSS)> the Psalms of 
Solomon (Sulayman 3S8I), the Scriptures of Abraham (Ibrahim 8S§t) and the Scriptures 
of Seth (Shith S@). He had even been blessed with meeting disciples of Jesus son of 
Mary (Tsa *S). When he saw the 'Arabs retreating and the Romans seizing their 
goods, he shouted out, "By Christ! It is a trick, a deception, a scheme of the 'Arabs. 
'Arabs will never abandon their children and camels even if it means that they will 
be killed to the last man." 

The priest screamed while the Romans plundered, not bothering about anything 
except the looted goods and food. 

The governor and his 5,000 men were in the meantime pressing on with the chase. 
Once the Romans were quite far from Hims Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> shouted, "Attack the 
Romans like beasts of prey and hunting eagles." 


Part 2: Hims 

The Muslims turned back as one man and surrounded the governor and his men on 
all sides. Their encirclement was so complete as the white of the eye surrounds the 
pupil. The Romans were now like a black dot on a white ox and began firing their 
arrows at the Muslims. The Muslims pounced on them like hunting lions and 
swooped upon them like eagles. They began hacking at them with their swords right 
and left until the majority of Romans lay dead. 

58) The governor is killed 

'Atiyah bin Fihr az-Zubaydi narrates: 

When the Romans saw what we were doing to them, they assailed us. As the battle 
heated Khalid 4» appeared in the middle of the army mounted on a reddish horse and 
wearing golden armour which the governor of Ba'labakk had gifted to him the day 
Ba'labakk was conquered. He was also wearing the red turban which he always wore 
in battle. Roaring like a lion he brandished his sword until sparks flew and shouted, 
"May Allah have mercy on that man whose sword is naked, whose resolution is 
strong and who fights his enemies." The Muslims responded by unsheathing their 
swords and violently assaulting the enemy. 

Abu 'Ubaydah *&> called out, "O sons of 'Arabs, defend your women, Din and wealth. 
Allah is watching you and is your Helper against your enemy." Mu'ath bin Jabal 4* 
had separated with 500 men returning to the abandoned camp. The looting Christians 
were so busy carrying off provisions, baggage and goods that they did not perceive 
the coming of the Muslims and before they knew it were being pierced with spears 
like tongues of a kindled fire. The announcer called out, "O 'Arab youth, get to the 
gate before they get away with our goods and children!" 

The Romans were weighed down with their plunder but once they saw Mu'ath •& 
attacking them they threw down everything in order to escape. Some were killed and 
others escaped. 

Suhayb bin Sayf al-Fazari narrates: 

By Allah! Only about 100 horsemen out of the 5,000 with the governor of Hims 
managed to escape us. We chased the enemy to the gates and when we massacred 
them that was the greatest disaster to befall Hims because most of the refugees from 
al-' Awasim and other places were inside the city (so those killed at the gates would 
be people of Hims - translator's note). 



Sa'fd bin Zayd narrates: 

I participated in the Battle of Hims and was fond of keeping track of death-tolls. I 
counted 5,060 dead besides wounded and prisoners. I went to Abu 'Ubaydah and 
said, "Good news! I have counted 5,060 dead besides wounded and prisoners." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : That is indeed good news. Do you have any news on whether the 
governor has been killed? 

Sa 'id 4i> : I killed him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <*>: How do you know that it was him whom you killed? 

Sa '&& : I saw a heavily-built, obese, tall, reddish-coloured horseman with a sword 
in his hand. He was wearing upper-body armour and also had a spear. He was in the 
centre of the Romans and bellowed like a camel. I attacked him saying, "O Allah, I 
put Your power ahead of mine and Your conquering ahead of mine. O Allah, grant 
his slaying to be at my hands and grant me its reward." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : Did you loot his corpse? 

Sa 'id 4b : No, but my sign is in him - an arrow from my quiver which I shot into his 
heart. He then fell off his horse and his men fled. I went to him and cut him in the 
groin with my sword and left the arrow in his heart. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : O Muslims, go and get what is on his corpse and give it to Sa'id. 
May Allah have mercy on you. 

They obeyed him. 

59) Hims surrenders 

Upon the termination of the battle the Muslims gathered all the booty, armour and 
Turkish horses and presented it to Abu 'Ubaydah £>, He took out the state's one-fifth 
share and divided the rest amongst the Mujahidin. The people of Hims mourned their 
dead, filling the city with shouts and wails. Their elders and leaders gathered in the 
cathedral and discussed with the priests and monks whether they should surrender or 

The priests and leaders set out to meet Abu 'Ubaydah <ft> and surrendered. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4b granted them indemnity and said, "I will not enter your city until we see 
the outcome between us and Heraclius." The Romans offered to entertain the 


Part 2: Hims 

Muslims in the city, but Abu 'Ubaydah <& forbade them and not a single Muslim 
entered Hims until after the Battle of al-Yarmuk. Such conduct of justice and good 
character drew the Roman populace closer to the Muslims. 

Jarir bin Awf narrates from Humayd at-Tawil who narrates from Sinan ar- 
Rashid al-Yarbu'i who narrates from Salamah bin Jurayj who narrates from 
an-Najjar who is knowledgable on the conquests of Syria: 

After the people of Hims surrendered to us following the killing of Herbius they went 
out to bury their dead. We also began searching for the martyrs from amongst the 
Sahabah of Rasulullah and found them to be 235 horsemen. All of them were from 
Himyar and Hamdan except thirty Makkis, including 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl, Sabir 
bin Jari, ar-Rayyis bin 'Aqil, Marwan bin 'Amir as-Sulami - who was the son of the 
paternal uncle of al-' Abbas, Jamh bin Qudum and Jabir bin Khuwaylid ar-Raba'i. 



(Part 3 

M- Varmu^ 

Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 


1 . The Christian armies arrive in Syria 

2. The secret of success 

3. Heraclius appoints his generals 

4. Narrations on the number of Romans 

5. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& is informed 

6. Sahabah s&= consult 

7. March on al- Yarmuk 

8. Arrival at al- Yarmuk 

9. Negotiations 

10. Khalid 4& sends a delegation to Jabalah 

1 1 . Jabalah and the Ansar 

12. KMlid's 4&> audacious plan 

13. The sixty 

14. The sixty set out 

15. Jabalah and Khalid 4s> 

1 6. One against a thousand 

17. Missing in action 

18. Abu 'Ubaydah <& requests reinforcements 

19. 'Umar's ^ response 

20. Status of 'Umar 4& 

2 1 . Seven day journey in three days 

22. Sa'id bin 'Amir and his army 

23. Sa'id's dream 



24. Capture of al- Jinan 

25. The dream fulfilled 

26. Bannes's scheme 

27. Allah's mat 

28. Bannes's drivel 

29. No brotherhood with Christians 

30. Khalid * responds to Bannes 

3 1 . Why this book was compiled 

32. The prisoners are released 

33. The Muslims prepare for battle 

34. The two sides mobilise 

35. Romanus and the patrician 

36. Qays and the patrician 

37. 'Abdurahman <&> and the patrician 

38. The patrician's dream 

39. The first martyrs 

40. The women of Jannah are calling me 

4 1 . The good character of the Romans 

42. Bannes writes to Heraclius 

43. A spy in the Muslim camp 

44. Allah's secret intelligence service 

45. Men and women 

46. The advice 

47. Convey my salam to Rasulullah ill 

48. The Battle of al-Yarmuk begins in earnest 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

49. Bravery of the women 

50. Trajan is killed 

5 1 . Women to the rescue - again 

52. Martyrdom of 'Amir bin at-Tufayl <sfe 

53. Martyrdom of Jundub bin 'Amir 

54. The battle-cries and numbers of the Muslims 
5 5 . Another day of battle 

56. Bravery of az-Zubayr <&> 

57. The giant 

58. The prince of Lan 

59. The day of losing one eye 

60. Once again... women to the rescue ;j 


6 1 . Najm bin Mafrah and his eloquence 

62. The hair ofRasulullahS i 


63. Drowning of the Roman army 

64. George is killed 

65. Sergius seeks revenge 

66. Bannes comes out to fight 

67. The great victory 

68. Glad-tidings 

69. Disputes over the booty 


Part 3: 


1) The Christian armies arrive in Syria 

Heraclius could hardly breathe out of shock when he heard that the Muslims had 
conquered Hims, ar-Rastan and Shayzar and had seized all the gifts he had sent for 
Herbius. He now awaited the arrival of the armies from the ends of the Roman 
Empire. He had written to all Christians asking them to come to his aid. Within a 
short while they started arriving. So numerous were they that the vanguard was with 
him at Antioch while the rear stretched out to Great Rumiyah. He sent an army to 
Caesarea on the Syrian coast to defend Acre and Tiberias. He sent another to Baytul 
Muqaddas while he awaited the arrival of the army of Bannes, King of Armenia. 

Bannes had raised an army in Armenia which surpassed all that which the other 
nations of the Empire had gathered. Bannes arrived with all his officials to meet 
Heraclius. When they neared the town they dismounted and went on foot out of 
respect for Heraclius.They began uttering words of Disbelief, weeping and mourning 
over the territories lost to the Muslims. 

Heraclius stopped them and said, "O followers of Christianity, O sons of Holy Water, 
I had warned you about these 'Arabs but none of you accepted my words. By Christ! 
By the True Bible! By the Communion! By the Baptism! These 'Arabs will definitely 
rule the ground beneath my throne! Crying is inappropriate except for women. Such 
an army has gathered which no king on the face of the Earth can oppose. I have spent 
my wealth and manpower to defend you, your religion and your women. Repent unto 
Christ for all your sins. Do only good unto our subjects and do not oppress them. Be 
patient in battle and do not fight each other. Beware of vanity and jealousy for when 
these two qualities descend upon a nation they end up helpless (against their 
enemies). I now have a question to which you must respond." 

So the Roman leaders and princes said, "Ask whatever you want to, O Caesar." 

Heraclius : You are today better equipped and have more support than the 'Arabs. 
You have more men and tents and power than them. So why is it that you are being 
defeated whereas the Persians, Turks and Jaramiqah feared your fighting powers. 



Every time they come against you they returned defeated. Now, the 'Arabs have 
defeated you although they are the weakest of all creation. 

Their bodies are naked and their stomachs hungry. They have neither gear nor 
weapons. Yet they still defeated you at Busra, Hawran, Ajnadayn, Damascus, 
Ba'labakk and Hims. 

2) The Secret of Success 

The Romans all remained speechless. Eventually an old priest who was deeply 
learned in Christianity stood up and said, "O Caesar, do you know why the 'Arabs 
have been able to conquer?" 

Heraclius : By Christ, no. 

Priest : O Caesar, because our nation has changed its religion and has innovated it. 
They dispute about Jesus Christ and oppress one another. There are none amongst 
them who order the good and forbid the bad. There is no trace amongst them of 
justice, goodness and obedience. They ruin the times of prayer, consume interest, 
fornicate and commit adultery. Every sin and shameless act has become common 
amongst them. On the other hand, these 'Arabs obey their Lord and follow their 
religion. They worship at night and fast during the day. They never fail to remember 
their Lord nor to convey salutations upon their Prophet. Oppression and 
transgression is not to be found amongst them. They are not arrogant against each 
other. They distinguish themselves with their honesty and absorb themselves in 
worship. If they attack us they do not leave. If we attack them they do not flee. They 
know that this world is only temporary and that the life to come is eternal. 

Heraclius : By Christ! You have spoken the truth. Most certainly this is why the 
'Arabs are victorious against us. When our people behave as you have described then 
what argument do we have against their victories? I have now resolved to send these 
armies back to their homelands and I will take my family and wealth and go to 
Constantinople, for there I will be safe from the 'Arabs. 

Romans (standing in rows before him) : O Caesar, do not do this. Do not abandon the 
religion of Christ for he will take you to task for that on the Day of Judgement. All 
the kings will mock you and take you to be weak. Our enemies will be so delighted 
that you have left the Paradise of Syria to be inhabited by the 'Arabs after us. Such 
an army has been gathered here for us the like of which has never been gathered for 
any other king in the world. We will confront the 'Arabs and persevere in fighting 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

them. Perhaps Christ will help us against them. Be resolute and appoint whom you 
will and leave us to fight the 'Arabs. 

3) Heraclius appoints his generals 

Heraclius was happy with their reply and resolved to send the army with five 
different kings of the Empire. He called for a brocade flag woven with red gold at the 
top of which was a jewelled cross. He gave it to Canter, King of North Europe, and 
put him in charge of 100,000 slaves and other horsemen. He also granted him a robe 
of honour, crown, belt and arm-band. 

(Translator 's note: Names of Greeks and foreign nations and places have proven very 
difficult to translate and have often been left in the 'Arabic form. The Rus were 
ancient Vikings, not the Russians of today but the Vikings were not Christian at that 
time, so I have translated "Rusiyah " as "Northern Europe. ") 

The second flag was of white brocade with a golden sun embroidered in the middle. 
At the tip of the flag was a cross made of emerald. He gave it to George, governor of 
Amorium and Malurfyah. He also granted him a robe, arm-belt and belt and put him 
in command of 100,000 horsemen of all the different nations of the Empire. The third 
flag was of coloured "dastari" cloth with a picture of a gold cross on it. It was 
handed over to Trajan, governor of Constantinople, and he was charged with over 
100,000 Mongols, Franks and the Qaln. He was also given a robe, belt and bracelet. 
The fourth flag was of black brocade. Heraclius gave it to Theodorus and appointed 
him over another 100,000 of the Mongols and Armenians. The fifth flag was studded 
with pearls and jewels. Its handle was of gold with a ruby cross on top. Heraclius 
handed this over to Bannes, King of Armenia, whom he dearly loved because of his 
bravery and cunning. He had fought the Persians and the Turks many times and had 
always defeated them. Upon giving him the flag Heraclius took off the robe he was 
wearing and gave it to him with a belt, arm-belt, crown and a chain which was only 
permissible for the Emperors to wear. 

Heraclius then said, "O Bannes, I appoint you commander-in-chief of the entire 
army. Your word and order will reign supreme." 

Then he turned to the first four and said, "Your Crosses are under his Cross. He has 
full authority over you, so do not do anything without his consultation. Seek out the 
'Arabs wherever they may be and do not be weak-hearted. Defend your ancient faith 
and just divine laws. Spread out and take four separate roads for if you all go together 
the land will not be able to sustain such a huge army and you will destroy the land 



and whoever is in it." He then bestowed a robe on Jabalah bin al-Ayham al-Ghassani 
and appointed him over the Christian 'Arabs of Ghassan, Lakhm and Jutham. He said 
to him, "You 'Arabs will form the vanguard, for it takes like to destroy like. Only 
iron cuts iron." 

He then ordered the priests to throw Holy Water over them, recite the Bible and pray 
the Death Prayer over them. 

4) Narrations on the number of Romans 

Nawfal bin ' Adi narrates from Suraqah bin Khalid £> who narrates from Qasim 
- the freed slave of Hisham bin 'Amr bin 'Utbah - who had participated in all 
the Syrian conquests: 

The total number which Heraclius dispatched to al-Yarmuk was 600,000. These were 
from all the different nations who worship the Cross. 

Jarir bin 'Abdillah narrates from Yunus bin 'Abdil A'la: 

The total sent to al-Yarmuk, excluding the Antioch army, numbered 700,000 

Rashid bin Sa'id al-Himyari narrates: 

I participated in the Battle of al-Yarmuk from the beginning to the end. When the 
Roman armies arrived, I climbed up an elevation and counted twenty flags. Once the 
Romans encamped, Abu 'Ubaydah *fe> sent Romanus, the governor of Busra, to 
ascertain their numbers. He disguised himself and was absent from us one day and 
night before returning to us. When we saw him we gathered around him while Abu 
'Ubaydah & questioned him. 

Romanus : I have heard them saying that they number one million, but I do not know 
if they were just saying that so that any spy overhearing them would convey 
incorrect information. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & '■ How many men do you estimate to be under each banner? 
Romanus : I estimate that there are 50,000 horsemen under each banner. 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4h : Allahu Akbar! Receive glad-tidings of Allah's help. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

How many a small group defeated a huge force with Allah s 
leave? And Allah is with the patient ones. [2:249] 

5) Abu 'Ubaydah & is informed 

Having appointed the King of Armenia as commander-in-chief of the armies and 
instructed him to fight the Muslims, Heraclius mounted his horse. The Romans then 
mounted their horses and blew their trumpets. Heraclius went out of the Persia Gate, 
following and advising the army. He said to the four generals, "Each of you should 
take a separate road and each of you will separately command his army. Once you 
meet the 'Arabs then Bannes is in supreme command. Realise that this is the one and 
only golden opportunity against them. If they defeat you they will not be satisfied 
with only these lands, but will pursue you wherever you go. They will not be 
satisfied with only wealth without taking your lives. They will enslave your women 
and children. So be patient in battle and aid your faith and the divine law." 

Canter was sent via the Jabalah and al-Lathiqiyah road; George via the road of Great 
Jadah which is in 'Iraq; Theodoras via the Aleppo and Hamah Road and Trajan via 
al-' Awasim. Bannes followed with his army and sent men ahead of him to smooth 
the road and remove the stones. Jabalah headed Bannes's vanguard, consisting of the 
Christian 'Arabs of Ghassan, Lakhm and Jutham. The Romans oppressed every town 
and city they passed through, demanding fodder and accommodation which the 
people were unable to present. The people cursed the soldiers, "May God not return 
you safely." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& had spies in the Roman army at the time the tyrant Heraclius 
despatched his forces against the Muslims. These spies were from the Disbelievers 
under Muslim rule and would supply Abu 'Ubaydah & with information. When the 
Romans reached Shayzar, the spies separated themselves and made for the Muslim 
camp at Hims. They found nobody there and upon enquiry were told that Abu 
'Ubaydah 4& had departed leaving local leaders to collect the land-tax. The spies 
continued their travels until they met Abu 'Ubaydah * at al-Jabiyah where they 
informed him of the superiority of the Christian army. He was shocked and said, 



"There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through Allah, the 
Most High, the Most Mighty." 

He anxiously spent the night not closing an eye out of fear of what would happen to 
the Muslims. At dawn the athan was proclaimed and he led the Muslims in Salatul 
Fajr. After the Salah he made the Muslims promise not to leave until they had heard 
what he had to say. He then stood up to address them. After praising Allah Most 
High, mentioning the Holy Prophet S, invoking mercy upon Abu Bakr & and 
making du'a for victory for the Muslims, he said, "O Muslims, may Allah have 
mercy upon you. Know that Allah is to test you with a great test to see what you will 
do. It should also be considered that He has already fulfilled His promises unto you 
and granted you victory in many places. My spies have told me that the enemy of 
Allah, Heraclius, has sought reinforcements from the leaders of the lands of 
Polytheism. He is now sending them against you and has heavily equipped and 
armed them. 

>"f 'Z'l ' > \ * ? *\ ' * * 
^A s j3L> 4l)l jy \yahJ £)jJl)jZ 

They desire to extinguish Allah 's light with their mouths, but 
Allah will complete His light even if the Disbelievers dislike it. 


Know that they are coming against you from different roads. The tyrant has ordered 
them to unite against you. Know that Allah is with you. Those whom Allah abandons 
are not many while those whom Allah is with are not few. What is your opinion? May 
Allah have mercy upon you." 

6) Sahabah <&> consult 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& told one of the spies, "Stand up and tell the Muslims what you 

The spy told them of the army's great numbers, preparations and equipment. The 

Muslims became anxious and fear entered their hearts. They looked at each other 

- without saying anything. Abu 'Ubaydah * exclaimed, "What is this silence to my 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

question? May Allah have mercy upon you. Present your opinions for indeed Allah 
has said to his Prophet Muhammad 0: 

And consult them in the affair. Then when you have decided, 
place your trust in Allah. [3:159] 

One of the earliest Muslims said, "O commander, you are a man of high status about 
whom a verse of the Quran was revealed. You are the one whom Rasulullah $ 
declared to be the Trustworthy One of this Ummah. He had said, 'Every ummah has 
a trustworthy one and the Trustworthy One of this Ummah is Abu 'Ubaydah 'Amir 
bin al-Jarrah.' So now you tell us what to do that will be beneficial to the Muslims." 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : I am but a man like yourselves. You speak and I speak. You give 
opinions and I give mine. Allah is the One who guides. 

Yamani man : We advise you to leave this place and go to Wadi al-Qura which is 
close to al-Madinah. We can then receive reinforcements from 'Umar. When the 
enemy come against us we will be victorious against them. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : All of you sit down. May Allah have mercy upon you. You have 
submitted your views, but were I to move from here 'Umar would dislike it and 
rebuke me, "You have abandoned those cities which Allah has conquered through 
you and withdrawn from there. That is defeatism on your part." Submit other 
opinions to me. May Allah have mercy upon you. 

Qays bin Hubayrah : May Allah not return us safely to our families if we abandon 
Syria. How can we leave all these gushing rivers, farmlands, grapevines, gold, silver 
and brocade and return to the famine and drought of al-Hijaz? There we will eat 
barley-bread and wear wool whereas we have such abundance here. If we are killed, 
then what of it? We are promised Jannah and will be in luxury which cannot be 
compared to this world. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : He has spoken the truth. By Allah! Qays bin Hubayrah has uttered 
the truth. O Muslims, will you return to al-Hijaz and al-Madinah and leave for the 
Christians all these palaces, forts, gardens, rivers, food, drink, gold and silver, although 
of course what food is with Allah in the Eternal Abode is much better. Qays bin 



Hubayrah has spoken the truth to us. We will not abandon this place until Allah 
passes His decision. He is the best of Deciders. 

Qays bin Hubayrah : O commander, may Allah make your words true too and help 
you in your governorship. Do not move from your position but place your trust in 
Allah and fight the enemies of Allah. Even if we do not gain a speedy victory, our 
reward, although delayed until the next life, will not be lost. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4® : May Allah thank you and forgive us and you as well. Your view 
is the correct view. 

7) March on al-Yarmuk 

The other Muslims then gave their opinions except Khalid &> who remained silent. 
So Abu 'Ubaydah <& addressed him, "O Abu Sulayman, you are a brave man and a 
bold horseman. You have excellent views and are resolute, what do you say about 
what Qays has said?" 

Khalid 4fe : Qays has presented an excellent idea, but I do not agree. However, I will 
not oppose that which the Muslims have agreed upon. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& '■ If you have an idea which is beneficial then tell us and we will 
follow what you say. 

Khalid 4* : O commander, if you stay here you will only be making yourself a 
target. This land is close to Caesarea where Constantine, the son of Heraclius, is 
stationed with 40,000 horsemen in addition to the Jordanians who have fled from 
you. I advise you to leave this place for al-Yarmuk where you can speedily receive 
reinforcements from the Commander of the Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattab. You 
will be in a good position to gain victory for it is a land spacious for our horses. 

Muslims : Yes, what Khalid 4t says is correct. 

Abu Sujydn bin Harb 4* : O commander, first send Khalid 4& with his men to the area 
around ar-Ramadah to form a barrier between us and them. During our march a great 
tumult will be heard in the forest and we will be in a difficult position if the Romans 
hear us and attack. However, if they do attack, Khalid <& will be there to meet them 
with his men. 

Khalid 4& : By Allah! O Ibn Harb, you have mentioned what is in my heart. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Abu 'Ubaydah * then gave orders to evacuate al-Jabiyah. He called Khalid .$> and 
ordered him to take the army he had brought with him from 'Iraq - which numbered 
4,000 that day - and formed the vanguard to protect the Muslims. The Muslims made 
such a din which could be heard from a distance of two Farsakhs (11 km). As they 
headed towards al- Yarmuk, the Romans at the Jordan River heard the noise and 
thought that the Muslims were fleeing back to al-Hijaz out of fear of Heraclius's 
army. They therefore advanced against the Muslims. 

Khalid 4& confronted them and called out to his men, "Attack these people. You will 
be victorious." 

The Muslims unsheathed their swords and pointed their spears. Khalid *, Dirar &, 
al-Mirqal, Talhah bin Nawfal al-'Amiri, Zahid bin al-Asad, 'Amir bin at-Tufayl 4s>, 
Ibn Akkal ad-Dam and other warriors attacked the enemy. The Romans were unable 
to resist and fled with the Muslims either killing or capturing them. When the 
fleeing Christians reached the Jordan River, many of them drowned therein. Khalid 
£> then returned. 

As for Abu 'Ubaydah .$> he reached al- Yarmuk leaving the transport at the back and 
placed the women and children on a nearby hill. Guards were stationed on all the 
roads. When Khalid & arrived with the prisoners and booty Abu 'Ubaydah * 
delightedly exclaimed, "May Allah have mercy! This is definitely a sign of Allah's 
help and victory to come." 

The Muslims remained at al- Yarmuk preparing for battle and the promised arrival of 
the enemy. 

When Constantine, son of Heraclius, heard of the arrival of the Islamic army at al- 
Yarmuk and the slow march of the Roman generals against the Muslims he sent a 
message to the generals berating them for their slowness. When the messenger 
reached Bannes he called all the princes and generals and read the letter out to them 
and ordered them to march on. Thus they marched on. They oppressed the people of 
every town they passed through, which had been conquered by the Muslims and said 
to the locals, "Woe unto you! You abandoned your co-religionists and community 
and went towards the 'Arabs." 

"You are more blameworthy than us," retorted the locals, "for you ran away in defeat 
forcing us to surrender in order to save ourselves." 

The soldiers recognised the validity of this accusation and remained silent. 



8) Arrival at al-Yarmuk 

The Romans continued their march towards al-Yarmuk until they arrived at the 
Mountain Monastery near ar-Ramadah and al-Julan. They kept a distance of three 
Farsakh (16.5 km) away from the Muslims. Once all their forces had arrived, the first 
division moved in the direction of the Sahabah of Rasulullah S. Jabalah bin al- 
Ayham was leading the vanguard consisting of 60,000 Christian 'Arabs of Ghassan, 
Lakhm and Jutham. They were Bannes's vanguard. When the Sahabah & saw the 
great multitude they exclaimed, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do 
good except through Allah, Most High, Most Mighty." 

'Atiyah bin 'Amir narrates: 

By Allah! The only way I can describe the number of Romans is like a mighty swarm 
of locusts. They covered the entire valley. I saw the Muslims in great anxiety 
continuously reciting, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good and 
except through Allah, The Most High, the Most Mighty." 

Abu 'Ubaydah & was reciting, 

tal-tSleUpj \J^e> UJLp j^sl Ujj 

O our Rabbi Pour patience upon us! Make our feet firm and 
help us against the Disbelieving nation! [2:250] 

The Muslims fetched their gear and Abu 'Ubaydah & called those Disbelieving spies 
serving him and ordered them to enter the Roman army and spy on the number of 
their soldiers, equipment and weapons. He said, "I hope that Allah will grant it all to 
us as booty." 

Bannes remained facing the Muslims for several days without any fighting. He had 
refrained from attacking because a messenger arrived from Caesar saying, "Do not 
attack the Muslims until we send an envoy to them promising a great annual amount 
and gifts for their leader, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, and all their chiefs. They may keep 
all the territory from al-Jabiyah to al-Hijaz." 

Bannes : It is absolutely preposterous that they will ever accept that. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Prince George : How can you object against Caesar's suggestion? 

King Bannes : Then you can go to them yourself. Call for an intelligent man from 
amongst them and suggest this offer to him. Make great effort in your mission. 

George dressed in brocade, tied a jewelled band around his head and mounted a tall 
grey horse with a golden saddle inlaid with pearls and jewels. 1,000 horsemen of 
Madbajah accompanied him to the Muslim camp. When they came near he. halted 
them and carried on alone calling out, "O 'Arabs, I am an envoy of King Bannes. Let 
your commander come out so that we may present some peace proposals which 
might save us from shedding each other's blood." 

The Muslims went to inform Abu 'Ubaydah *&> who went out. He was wearing white 
'Iraqi cotton fabric and a black turban and had his sword girdled. He rode on his 
horse until its neck met the neck of George's horse. Everybody was watching them. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : O Disbelieving brother, say what you have got to say and ask 
what you have got to ask. 

George : O 'Arabs, you should not be deceived into saying, "We have defeated the 
armies of Rome in many places. We have conquered their lands and are supreme in 
most of the territories." Look now at what kind of an army has come against you. We 
have with us all various nations. We have sworn not to flee even if it means that all 
of us will be killed. You do not have power against all these legions you see. Return 
to your lands for you have reached the maximum limit of what you can conquer of 
Caesar's Empire. Our Caesar is so generous that he is prepared to gift you the area 
you have taken in the past three years. You have also looted much gold, silver and 
weapons although you came naked to Syria running away from your land. Accept 
what I offer or face utter destruction. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4a : You say that the Romans will never retreat? They will turn on 
their heels as soon as they see the blades of our swords. As for threatening us with 
your great numbers you have already seen how we kill double our number and you 
have seen how we meet your great armies with all their equipment and weapons and 
all the things we love on the day of battle until it becomes clear which of us is firm 
in war. 

George turned to one of his men called Bahil and said, "O Bahil, Caesar knows these 
'Arabs better than us." 

Then turning his horse's head he returned to Bannes and reported what Abu 
'Ubaydah 4*> had said. 



Bannes : Did you propose a treaty? 

George : By Christ! I hardly had a chance to propose such a thing. It would be better 
if you send the Christian 'Arabs for they understand each other better. 

9) Negotiations 

Bannes summoned Jabalah bin al-Ayham and said, "O Jabalah, go and threaten them 
with our massive numbers. Put terror in their hearts and use whatever strategy you 

Jabalah left and upon nearing the Muslim camp called out, "O 'Arabs, let a 
descendant of 'Amr bin 'Amir come out so that I can convey a message to him." 

When Abu 'Ubaydah & heard this he said, "They have sent one of our nation unto 
us to deceive us with family ties. Send one of the Ansar from the descendants of 
'Amr bin 'Amir to him." 

'Ubadah bin al-Samit * quickly said, "O commander, I will go to him. I will see 
what he says." 

'Ubadah 4b rode out on his horse and halted in front of Jabalah. Jabalah saw this tall 
man, deep-brown in complexion as if he was of the Yamani tribe of Shanuah. 
'Ubadah 4b was extremely tall and his enormous physique frightened Jabalah. 

Jabalah : Boy, from which nation are you? 

'Ubadah 4b: I am of the descendants of 'Amr bin 'Amir. 

Jabalah : That is good. What is your name? 

'Ubadah 4? '■ 'Ubadah bin al-Samit, Sahabi of Rasulullah S. What do you want? 

Jabalah : O my cousin, I came because I know most of you to be my relations. I have 
come as a well-wisher to give advice. Know that this army which has come against 
you has no end. Behind them they have more troops, forts, castles and wealth. You 
should not say, "We have broken and defeated the armies of Rome before." Know 
that war's fortunes rotate. If these people defeat you, you will find no protection 
besides death. If on the other hand they are defeated they can always return to their 
cities, treasuries, armies and forts. Take what you have so far earned and return 
safely to your lands. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

'Ubddcth 4b '■ O Jabalah, do you not know how we confronted their great armies at 
Ajnadayn and other places? Allah helped us and their tyrant flees from us. So now 
we know that whatever you can throw at us will be quite easily handled. We fear 
none that comes against us. We have tasted the blood of Rome and find nothing 
sweeter. O Jabalah, I invite you to the Din of Islam. Enter together with your people 
into our Din. That will bring you honour in this world and the next. Stop being a 
servant to that Christian of Rome for whose sake you are destroying yourself. You 
are one of the leaders and kings of the 'Arabs. Our Din is such that its start is so clear 
and the end is as clear as the start. Follow the way of those who follow the Truth and 
are true to it. Say - There is no deity but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 
O Allah convey salutations and peace on him, his family and his SaMbah. 

Jabalah (angry) : I will never abandon my faith. 

'Ubddah 4b : So if you insist on remaining on your Disbelief, then beware of meeting 
me at the first clash, for it will be most severe. If the blades of our swords reach you 
there will be no escape. Leave us to deal with the Romans for they are insignificant 
to us. If you are going to stay in this state then the same fate will befall you as will 
befall the Romans. 

Jabalah (even more angry) : How dare you try to scare me with your swords! We are 
'Arabs like you are 'Arabs. Men like you. 

'Ubddah & : We are well aware that you came to trick us and spy on us. We are most 
certainly not alike. Woe unto you! We are firm in our battle, taking our Rabb as one. 
We follow the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad. Behind us is an army which 
conquers all lands leaving them desolate. 

Jabalah : I know of no army behind you besides that little one. Who is there to help 
you besides them? 

'Ubddah 4b : By Allah! You lie, O Ibn al-Ayham. Behind us is an army of great 
warriors who regard death as a blessing and life as a burden. Each one of them is 
enough to take on an entire army. Woe unto you! Have you forgotten 'Ali and his 
strength; 'Umar and his sternness; 'Uthman and his generosity; al-'Abbas and his 
great build; az-Zubayr and all the other Muslim horsemen from Makkah, at-Taif, 
Yaman and other places? 

Jabalah : O cousin, I had come solely as a well-wisher, even if you deny this, and 
ask your people to accept peace. 



'Ubddah <&> : There can never be peace between us until you either pay Jizyah or 
accept Islam. Failing that the sword will decide between us. By Allah! Were it not for 
the fact that we consider treachery to be an ugly deed, I would have struck you down 
with my sword right now. 

10) Khalid £> sends a delegation to Jabalah 

Jabalah felt that the discussion was over and instead of replying, turned his horse and 
returned to Bannes terrified at 'Ubadah's words. As he stood in front of Bannes 
terror was clearly written on his face. 

Bannes : What happened? 

Jabalah : I warned and threatened and tempted them but it was all in vain. All I got 
in reply was, "There is only war and fighting between us." 

Bannes : Then what is this terror which I see on your face? They are 'Arabs like you 
and you are 'Arabs like them. I have been informed that they are a mere 30,000 
horsemen, whereas you have 60,000 horsemen. Two of you will fight one of them. 
Fight them with your Christian 'Arab cousins and I will be behind you. If you are 
victorious then we will share the realm and you will be the closest to us and will be 
given all the Syrian lands conquered by the 'Arabs. 

Bannes continued to encourage Jabalah with great rewards until he agreed to fight 
the Muslims. He informed his people and clansmen of Ghassan, Lakhm, Jutham and 
the other 'Arab Christians and ordered them to arm themselves. They obeyed and 
dressed in chain-mail and layered armour. All 60,000 were 'Arabs. Jabalah led them 
wearing his golden armour and Tubba' manufactured sword. Near him was the flag 
which Heraclius had given him. When he arrived at the Muslim camp, 'Ubadah *& 
was briefing Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe about what had transpired between him and Jabalah. 
When the Muslims saw the Christians they shouted, "O Muslims, the Christian 
'Arabs have come to fight you, so what do you say?" 

"We will fight them and hope for victory and Allah's help against them and against 
the enemy besides them," they replied and prepared to launch a counter-attack. 

But Khalid & called out, "Be patient! May Allah have mercy on you! I will tell you 
a strategy through which they will be destroyed." Then he said to Abu 'Ubaydah <&, 
"O commander, the Romans have sought help from the Christian 'Arabs against us. 
They are double our number. Even if we fight them with our total force we will be 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

in a very weak position. Let me send to them a messenger of their nation to ask them 
to withdraw. If they listen it will be a defeat for them and weaken the Roman 
position. If they refuse then even a small group amongst us will be able to send them 
packing with Allah's help." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4«. : Do as you please. 

Khalid * called Qays bin Sa'd &, 'Ubadah bin al-Samit * , Jabir bin 'Abdillah <& 
and Abu Ayyub bin Khalid bin Yazid -*> and said to them, "O Ansar of Allah and His 
Messenger, these Christian 'Arabs wish to fight us. They are of Ghassan, Lakhm and 
Jutham and are your cousins in lineage. Go out and speak to them. Persuade them not 
to fight. If they refuse, then our swords will deal with them. We are enough to meet 
them in battle." 

The Sahabah & of Rasulullah S went to the Christian 'Arabs and found Jabalah 
facing the Muslims preparing to fight them. As they approached Banu Ghassan, Jabir 
bin 'Abdillah 4$> called out, "O 'Arabs of Ghassan, Lakhm and Jutham, we are your 
cousins desiring to speak to you." 

Jabalah granted permission and they came into his large brocaded tent. He was 
sitting on a yellow silk rug surrounded by the kings of Jafnah. They greeted him in 
the manner in which 'Arab kings used to be greeted, thus raising their status in his 
eyes and he drew them closer. 

11) Jabalah and the Ansar & 

Jabalah : O my cousins, we have common blood and ancestry. I have come out from 
this army which has come upon you. A man then came from your army and 
transgressed the limits of speech when addressing me. So now what brings you to 

Jabir 4» : Do not take us to task for what our friend has said. Our Din is based on 
Truth and wishing well unto others. To wish you well is obligatory since you are a 
relative. We therefore invite you to Islam and to become part of our community. You 
will be entitled to whatever we are entitled to and will be obligated with whatever we 
are obligated with. Our Din is most noble and our Prophet S most graceful. 

Jabalah : I do not like that religion or any other. I am attached to my religion. You, 
O Aws and Khazraj, are pleased with a thing for yourself while we are pleased with 
something else. You keep to your religion while we keep to ours. 



Jdbir 4fe : If you will not leave your religion then at least refrain from fighting us. 
Wait and see who is victorious. If we are victorious and you want to accept Islam we 
will still welcome you and you will be a brother unto us. If however you wish to 
remain as a Christian then we will be satisfied with Jizyah from you and will leave 
you in control of your lands and the lands of your ancestors as well. 

Jabalah : I fear that should I refrain from fighting and the Romans are victorious, I 
will not be safe and will lose my territory. They will only be satisfied with me if I 
fight against you and have proclaimed me as a leader over all the 'Arabs. Were I to 
become a Muslim I would be reduced to a low status and it is not in my nature to be 
a mere follower. 

Jdbir 4fr : Bear in mind that if you refuse our offer and we win we will certainly 
execute you. Therefore stay away from us and our swords which crack open skulls 
and break bones. However, we would much prefer it if the battle were to take place 
without you and your men participating. 

The Ansar & were trying to frighten Jabalah and convince him to withdraw, but he 
remained adamant. 

Jabalah : By Christ and the Cross! I will definitely fight on Rome's behalf even if it 
has to be against all my relations. 

Qays bin Sa'd^>: The result of what you wish is that the Devil will clasp your heart 
and sink with you into Hell. You will thus be of the destroyed ones. We have come 
to invite you to Islam because your lineage links up to ours. If you refuse then you 
will taste of such a terrible war wherein a toddler will age before his time and become 
an old man. 

Qays 4fe then sprang up and said to the Muslims, "Arise with the blessings and help 
of Allah Most High and in His complete obedience. To Hell with this man!" 

Jabalah got up saying, "Be prepared for the battle tomorrow." 

12) Khalid's <afe> audacious plan 

The Ansar 4e mounted their horses and returned to Abu 'Ubaydah 4& and KMlid <& 
to report to them that Jabalah was set on fighting them. Khalid 4& exclaimed, "May 
Allah exterminate him! He will certainly see what we are going to do with him." He 
then addressed the Muslims. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Khdlid 4b : O Muslims, know that the Devil's army is 60,000 Christian 'Arabs. We, 
the army of the Most Merciful, amount to 30,000 horsemen. We will have to fight 
this big force but if we fight them with our entire force, that would be quite 
cowardly. All we need to do is to send our select and elite warriors against the 
Christian Arabs. 

Abu Sufydn Sakhr bin Harb 4b : Praise be to Allah for you, O Abu Sulayman, your 
view is correct. So do what you want to and select from the army whomsoever you 

Khdlid 4* : I propose selecting thirty horsemen, each of whom will have to face 
2,000 Christian 'Arabs. 

The Muslims were astonished and thought that he was joking. 

Abu Sufydn 4b : O Ibn al-Walid, are you joking or serious? 

Khdlid 4b : I swear, no. I am quite serious. 

Abu Sufydn 4* : Then you are opposing Allah's command by wronging yourself. I do 
not think that there is any good in what you say, although one Muslim against 200 
would be easier than what you say of fighting 2,000. Allah Most Honourable and 
Majestic is merciful unto His slaves. He has stipulated upon us that one of us may 
fight two, 100 against 200 and 1,000 against 2,000 whereas you say that thirty of us 
must go against 60,000? None will volunteer for this and if he does then he will 
wrong himself and you will have assisted in killing him. 

Khdlid 4* '■ O Abu Sufyan, you were so brave in pre-Islamic times so do not be 
cowardly in Islam. See which Muslim warriors I will select and you will see that they 
are such men who have gifted their lives to Allah and desire nothing through their 
fighting except Allah himself. Allah knows who possesses these qualities and it will 
be His responsibility to aid him even if he were to cross repulsive fires. 

Abu Sufydn 4b : Matters are as you have stated them. I only said this out of 
compassion for the Muslims. If you have resolved upon this then at least take sixty 
Muslims so that each will only have to face 1,000 Christian 'Arabs. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : Yes. Abu Sulayman, Abu Sufyan is correct. 

Khdlid *& : By Allah! O commander, all I intended was a strategy against our enemy. 
If they should flee in defeat and should be questioned, "How many confronted you?" 



they would have to reply, "We confronted thirty men!" Thus our terror will enter their 
hearts and Bannes will know that we are enough for him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4k : Matters are as you have stated except that if they are sixty they 
would be a fair group able to protect each other. 

Khdlid *: I am selecting such Muslims whom I know for their patience, 
steadfastness and the way they forge ahead in battle. I will offer them this mission 
and if they love to meet Allah and desire His reward they will accept. 

However, if they love the life of this world and wish to remain therein and do not 
love death then what choice does Khalid 4» have except to spend his life for Allah 
Who guides towards that which He loves and pleases Him. 

13) The sixty 

'Amr bin Salim narrates from his grandfather, Bar'i bin 'Adi: 

I was with Khalid &> when he summoned sixty Sahabah & of Rasulullah S. He called 
out, "Where are 'Amr at-Tamimi, Shurahbil bin Hasanah who would write down the 
revelations of Rasulullah @, Khalid bin Sa'id bin al-'As, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan al- 
Umawi, Safwan bin Umayyah al-Jumahi, Sahl bin 'Amr al-'Amiri, Dirar bin al- 
Azwar aL-Kindi, Rafi' bin 'Umayrah at-Tai, Zayd al-Khayl Abyad ar-Rikabayn, 
Huthayfah bin al-Yaman, Qays bin Sa'd, Ka'b bin Malik al-Ansari, Suwayd bin 
'Amr al-Ghanawi, 'Ubadah bin as -Samit, Jabir bin 'Abdillah, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, 
'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar bin al-Khattab al-' Adawi, Rafi bin 
Sahl, Yazid bin 'Amir, 'Ubayd bin Aws, Malik bin Nasr, Nasr bin al-Harith, Abdullah 
bin Zhafar, Abu Lubabah bin al-Muthir, Awf, 'Abis bin Qays, Ubadah bin 'Abdillah 
al-Ansari, Rafi bin 'Ujrah, Ubayd bin 'Abdillah, Mu'qib bin Qays and Hilal? Where 
are those who were patient at the Battle of Uhud, for Allah has mentioned them in 
His Book: 

^iXjU l_j~L*J tyV^o AjU t ^-r=j\» Cr^i Ol^ 

If there are 100 patient ones of you, you will overcome 200. 



Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Where are Usayd as-Sa'idi, Kilal bin al-Harith al-Mazini, Hamzah bin 'Umar al- 
Aslami and Yazid bin 'Amir?" 

Khalid 4* called out the names of all those who would go and fight Jabalah although 
I (al-Waqidi) have shortened the list. I have given preference to mentioning the Ansar 
& because he chose most of them from the Ansar <&. When the Ansar & heard the 
frequency with which their names were being called out they remarked, "Today 
Khalid is mostly calling out the Ansar and rarely the Muhajirin, the descendants of 
al-Mughirah bin Qusayy. Is it because he is testing us or is it because he prefers us 
to be destroyed and pities the descendants of al-Mughirah?" 

When Khalid & heard this he rode with his horse until he was right in the middle of 
the Ansar 4s» and said, "By Allah! O descendants of 'Amir, I only call you because of 
your pleasing qualities. I also have firm trust in you and have selected you for your 
Faith. You are of those whose Faith is firmly anchored in the heart." 

"You are true in what you say, O Abu Sulayman," they replied and proceeded to 
shake his hands. 

After selecting the sixty, each of whom would have to take on an army by himself, 
Khalid * called out, "O Helpers of Allah, what do you say about joining me in an 
assault against this army which has come to fight you? If you have patience then 
Allah will aid you and you will be victorious against the Christian 'Arabs. You have 
already defeated the legions of Rome-, so when you defeat these 'Arabs fear will 
descend in their hearts and they will turn in defeat." 

The sixty responded, "O Abu Sulayman, do with us as you please! Go against 
however many you want to. By Allah! We will fight our enemies in support of the 
Din of Allah. We place our trust in Allah Most High and His power. We give up our 
lives in desire for the Hereafter." 

Khalid 4fc thanked them as did Abu 'Ubaydah <$> who said, "May Allah have mercy 
on you. Prepare, get your gear and weapons. Fight with swords only. None of you 
should take a spear for it is unreliable and often misses the mark. Neither should you 
take arrows for sometimes they miss and sometimes they hit. The sword and shield 
are the bases of war. Mount speedy horses which can save you, not such horses which 
you cannot be patient with. Promise to meet each other at the grave of the Chosen 



14) The sixty set out 

They all went to their families to fulfil their promise (of meeting at the grave) and 
bid them farewell. As for Dirar &, he went to his tent to make his preparations. When 
he made salam to his sister, Khawlah bint al-Azwar, and put on his armour, she asked 
him, "O my brother, why is it that I see you departing like one who is certain never 
to return? Tell me what you intend doing." 

When he told her she wept and said, "O my brother, do what you want to do and meet 
your enemy for you are one who has firm belief in Allah, Most Blessed and High. He 
will help you. Your enemy will not be able to approach you even from afar and will 
not be able to escape from you even a short distance. If anything should befall you 
then I swear by Allah who is Most Mighty that Khawlah will not find rest on this 
Earth until she avenges you." 

Dirar 4& wept because of her weeping, but continued his preparations just as the other 
sixty Sahabah & of Rasulullah & were doing. They did not sleep at all that night, but 
were bidding their children and wives farewell and wept the whole night in humility 
before Allah, begging him for help against the enemy. 

In the morning Abu 'Ubaydah & led them in Salatul Fajr. Upon completing it, the 
first to rush out for the mission was Khalid & who recited : 

\-^\jjJ\j jJLJJl U^ ./> ; ,^-i I — ^ — ■*> I — : — J <u>i 3}j — ,j 

O my brethren, all of you give up your life 

Towards the enemy we go seeking strife. 

In that way we hope for triumph and success 

When for that we give our lives in sacrifice. 

Allah will grant us goodness 

Morning and evening He will help us. 

He recited another couplet which I (al-Waqidi) do not know. 

He went out of the camp leading the Muslims who came one by one until all sixty he 
had chosen gathered behind him. The last to emerge was az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

4b. His wife, Asma bint Abi Bakr, accompanied him. She headed for her brother, 
' Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr, making du'a for safety and victory for the Muslims and 
said, "O my brother, do not separate from the son of the aunt of Rasulullah S (az- 
Zubayr 4&). At the time of battle do as he does and do not allow the fault-seekers to 
stop you from doing what is right in the Path of Allah." 

The Muslims bade the sixty farewell who moved out with Khalid 4t> in the centre. He 
was like a lion in the centre of a pride of lions. They rode until they reached the 
Christian 'Arabs. 

15) Jabalah and Khalid & 

When the Christian 'Arabs saw their small numbers they thought that they were only 
messengers coming to seek peace. Jabalah called to his men to frighten the 
"messengers" and then shouted (to frighten the Muslims), "O family of Ghassan, 
hasten to the aid of the Cross. Fight those who deny it." 

They hastened to comply, grabbed their war-gear, raised their crosses and formed 
rows for battle. 

The sun blazed forth heating their iron, armour and helmets until they it seemed as if 
they were burning in a fire. The Christians stood watching the Muslims. When the 
Muslims were close to their crosses, Khalid 4& shouted, "O worshippers of the Cross, 
O enemies of the Most Merciful, come to battle and cutting!" 

Jabalah finally realised that they were not messengers but had come to fight. 
Covered in armour, he led his men and recited : 

We are for those who worship the Crucifix, 

Those who blame us for our actions soon we will fix. 

We are victorious through Christ and His Mother, 

War knows us to be the only inheritor. 

We come and the Cross we do employ, 

With our swords we will destroy. 



He then asked, "Who dares to challenge us?" 

"I," said Khalid .& and advanced to the main body of their army. 

Jabalah : We are prepared to fight you so await our attack. By Christ! I will never 
accept peace with you. Go back to your people and inform them that we are intent on 
fighting you. 

Khalid 4& (amazed) : You actually think that we are here as messengers? 

Jabalah : Of course! 

Khalid & : Do not ever think that. By Allah! Our only purpose for coming out is to 
fight you. You might consider us to be a small group, but we have Allah's support 
against you. 

Jabalah: You boy, you have misled yourself and your people if you have come to 
fight us. We are the chiefs of Ghassan, Lakhm and Jutham. 

Khalid <&> '■ We are not as few in number as you might think. One of us will combat 
1,000 of you and then we will still have one man to spare. I thirst to fight you just as 
one thirsts for cool water. 

Jabalah : O brother of Banu Makhzum, I had always considered you to be highly 
intelligent and a formidable warrior until I heard these foolish words coming from 
you. You and sixty men want to attack us whereas we are the chiefs of Ghassan and 
the warriors of this era. 

I will attack you with 60,000 horsemen and none of you will remain. O Ghassan, 

16) One against a thousand 

The 60,000 Christians charged, but Khalid & and the sixty Sahabah & remained 
firm. The battle was intense and nothing but the roaring of the warriors could be 
heard. Swords struck polished helmets until none - either Muslim or Christian - 
thought that the Sahabah & would survive. The Muslims wept and became anxious 
for their brethren. Some even said, "Khalid has deceived and destroyed the Sahabah 

In the meantime the Romans exclaimed, "Jabalah has destroyed them. There is no 
escape for these 'Arabs from destruction at our hands." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

The battle continued until noon. 

'Ubadah bin gamit 4fe narrates: 

Praise be to Allah! Khalid <&, az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 4&, 'Abdurahman bin Abi 
Bakr 4b, al-Fadl bin al-' Abbas -*>, Dirar bin al-Azwar 4b and 'Abdullah bin 'Umar 4b 
were truly amazing. I saw these six joined shoulder-to-shoulder, never separating. 
The flame of war intensified. Spears ripped the chests of the Muslim lions until they 
penetrated their hearts to end their lives. This violent battle continued and reached 
the height of intensity. 

I attacked with them and said, "That which has afflicted them (the martyrs) will 
afflict me too." 

Khalid 4b called out, "O Sahabah of Rasulullah &>, gather here." 

He penetrated to the centre and as the battle intensified, charged with Hisham and al- 
Mirqal. The Christians then surrounded them, but praise be to Allah for the bravery 
of az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 4b and al-Fadl bin al-'Abbas 4b. They came and al- 
Fadl^ shouted, "Make space, you dogs. Leave our friends alone. That is az-Zubayr 
bin al-'Awwam 4b and I am al-Fadl bin al- 'Abbas, the cousin of Rasulullah S." 

I swear that I counted the number of times al-Fadl charged to defend Khalid 4b- Upon 
his twentieth charge they left Khalid 4b. The Muslims then launched a great attack 
against the Christians and remained in combat for the rest of the day until sunset. The 
Muslims were worried about their brethren. 

As for Abu 'Ubaydah 4b, he called out to the Muslims, "O Sahabah of Rasulullah H, 
Khalid <$> and his men have doubtlessly been destroyed. The Muslim horsemen have 
gone. Attack so that we can see what has happened to our brothers. May Allah bless 

All responded positively except Abu Sufyan 4b who said, "O commander, do not do 
that. They will certainly escape on their own. We shall soon see what happens to 

Abu 'Ubaydah & paid no heed to his words and remained anxious. He was about to 
attack when the Christians started fleeing in defeat. The voices of the Sahabah 4fe 
could be heard raising cries of, "La ilaha illallah wallahu Akbar!" 

Each called out, "I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah alone, He has no 
partner, and Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger." 



The Christian 'Arabs were fleeing as if someone was screaming at them from the sky. 
Their cohesion was utterly shattered. Khalid 4» emerged from the midst of the 
turmoil with clear signs of battle-fatigue on his face. Those who were with him were 
in a similar state. 

17) Missing in action 

Khalid 4» began searching for his sixty men, but only found twenty. He began 
beating himself on the face, saying, "O Ibn al-Walid, you have destroyed the 
Muslims. What will your excuse be tomorrow to the Most Merciful and to the 
Commander of the Believers?" 

While he was in that state of confusion, Abu 'Ubaydah 4» who had been chasing the 
enemy arrived with the Muslim warriors and saw what he was doing to himself. 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^ : O Abu Sulayman, praise be to Allah for helping the Muslims and 
defeating the Christians. 

Khalid 4» : O commander, I know that Allah defeated the army, but grief follows your 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> '■ How is that? 

Khalid •$> '■ O commander, I have lost forty men including az-Zubayr, the cousin of 
Rasulullah S, and al-Fadl bin al-'Abbas. 

Khalid <&> continued naming them one by one until he had listed all forty. 

Abu 'Ubaydah &> : Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we return. There is no 
ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through Allah, the Most High, 
the Most Mighty. Khalid, your vanity has destroyed the Muslims. 

Salamah bin al-Ahwas as-Sulami : O commander, look for the lost Sahabah in the 
battlefield for I saw them either captured by the enemy or going in pursuit of the 

Abu 'Ubaydah & ordered fires to be lit to dispel the intense darkness. The Muslims 
then went out to search the bodies lying on the battlefield and found 5,000 Christian 
'Arabs dead and two of their chiefs, Rifa'ah bin Mut'im al-Ghassani and Shaddad 
bin al-Aws. Ten Muslim martyrs were found of whom two were from the Ansar - 
Amir al-Awsi and Salamah al-Khazraji. Abu 'Ubaydah *> said, "It is possible that the 
rest went in pursuit of the enemy. O Allah, grant us relief soon. Do not sadden us 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

with the loss of the son of the aunt of Rasulullah H, az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam^, 
nor with the son of the uncle of Rasulullah $1, al-Fadl bin al-' Abbas 4b. O Muslims, 
who will go after the enemy to find out about the missing Sahabah? His reward will 
be from Allah." 

The first to respond was Khalid 4b to whom Abu 'Ubaydah 4b replied, "Do not do 
this, Abu Sulayman. You are exhausted from the battle." 

Khalid 4b : By Allah! None except me shall go in search of them. 

He then exchanged his horse for that of Hazim bin Jubayr bin 'Adi of Banu an- 
Najjar. He went in search of the missing Muslims. A troop of Muslim horsemen 
followed him. They had not gone far when cries of, "La ilaha illallah wallahu 
Akbar!" were heard. When Khalid 4b responded in a like manner the missing ones 
emerged with az-Zubayr 4b, al-Fadl, Hashim and al-Mirqal taking the lead. 

When Khalid •& saw them he was overjoyed and welcomed them. After making 
salam to them he asked al-Fadl, "O cousin of Rasulullah S, what happened to you 

Al-Fadl 4b : O Abu Sulayman, Allah defeated the Christians and turned them away 
in defeat. We were following them when some of our men were captured. We tried 
to free them but found no trace of them. Doubtlessly they have been killed. 

Khalid 4b : No, they are certainly being held prisoner. 

Az-Zubayr 4b : And how would you know that, Abu Sulayman? 

Khalid & : We only found ten bodies lying in the battlefield. We are twenty and you 
are twenty-five which means that five are being held prisoner. 

The five prisoners were Rafi' bin 'Umayrah, Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, Dirar 4b, Asim bin 
'Amr and Yazid bin AM Sufyan •&. This was difficult for the Muslims to bear. The 
search parties returned to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b who upon seeing az-Zubayr 4b, al-Fadl, 
al-Mirqal and Hashim safe and joyous at the victory, prostrated on his saddle-bow 
out of gratitude to Allah. 

Khalid 4b : O Muslims, I offered my life but was not blessed with martyrdom. 
Whichever Muslim was killed had reached his appointed time. If Allah wills I will 
free the prisoners. 



18) Abu 'Ubaydah <&> requests reinforcements 

A reliable narrator narrates that when Abu 'Ubaydah 4& saw that the Romans were 
intent on fighting him, he wrote the following letter to 'Umar 4»: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

To : The Commander of the Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattdb 

From : Abu 'Ubaydah 'Amir bin al-Jarrdh, his governor 

Saldm 'alayka 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and I 
convey salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. 

Know, O commander, that the Dog of Rome, Heraclius, has 
gathered against us all who carry the cross. They have come 
against us like a swarm of locusts. We had encamped at al- 
Yarmuk which is close to ar-Ramdh and al-Khawldn when the 
enemy numbering 800,000 excluding non-combatant servants 
arrived. Their vanguard was 60,000 Christian Arabs of 
Ghassdn, Lakhm and Juthdm. 

The first to confront us was Jabalah bin al-Ayham with his 
60,000 men against whom we sent 60 men. Allah Most High 
then defeated the Disbelievers. 

Victory is only from Allah, the Mighty and Wise. [3:162] 

Ten of our men were killed. They are Rd'ilah, Ja'far bin al- 
Musayyib, Nawfal bin Waraqah, Qays bin 'Amir, Salamah bin 
Salamah al-Khazraji etc. Five of them were captured and they 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

are Rdfi ' bin 'Umayrah, Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, Dirdr bin al-Azwar, 
'Asim bin 'Amr and Yazid bin AM Sujydn 4&. 

We intend to continue fighting so do not neglect the Muslims. 
Send us reinforcements from amongst the people of Tawheed 
[Monotheists] . We ask Allah to help us, Islam and its people. 
Peace and Allah 's mercy and blessings be upon you and all the 

He folded the letter and gave it to 'Abdullah bin Qurt al-Azdi 4s> to deliver to al- 

'Abdullah bin Qurt 4fc narrates: 

I left al- Yarmuk at 4pm after Asr on Friday 12 Thil Hijjah and arrived at al-Madinah 
the following Friday at 11am. The masjid was full of people. I tied my camel at the 
Gate of Jibrail and went to the tomb of Rasulullah S to convey salam to him and Abu 
Bakr4J8. There I performed two raka'at and then went to deliver the letter to 
'Umar 4k 

The sight of the letter caused a tumult amongst the Muslims and they looked towards 
'Umar. I kissed his hands and gave it to him. When he read it his face changed colour 
and he was upset and shaken. He said, "Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we 

Sahabah such as 'Uthman, 'Alt, 'Abdurahman bin 'Awf and Talhah asked, "O 
commander of the Believers, tell us about the state of our Muslim brothers." 

'Umar then stood up, mounted the mimbar and read out the letter. When they heard 
it the Muslims began weeping. Ibn 'Awf 4» wept the most and said, "O 
commander of the Believers, send us to them. Were you to go yourself to Syria they 
would be greatly strengthened, but by Allah, I only have control over myself and my 
life and I am not miserly in spending these two things for the sake of the Muslims." 

19) 'Umar's 4k> response 

When 'Umar * saw the great sympathy being exhibited for their brothers, he said, 
"O Ibn Qurt, who leads the Roman army?" 



"There are five generals," I replied, "Caesar's nephew, Theodoras, Trajan, Canter 
and George. These four are under the supreme command of Bannes, King of 
Armenia. Jabalah bin al-Ayham al-Ghassani leads the vanguard of 60,000 horsemen 
who are all Christian 'Arabs. 

'Umar 4& : Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we return. There is no power to do 
good or ability to avoid evil except through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty. 

- ^ . >Y\ ' s *\' * i * •** T' 

They desire to extinguish the Light of Allah with their mouths, 

but Allah will complete His Light even if the Disbelievers 

dislike it. [61:8] 

O Muslims, what is your counsel to me? May Allah have mercy upon you. 

Alt& : Glad tidings! May Allah have mercy upon you all. This battle will be a sign 
from amongst Allah's signs. He is testing His believing slaves to see their actions and 
their patience. He will confirm the patient one who expects due reward as truly 
patient. Remember that Rasulullah ft has mentioned to me that this battle will be 
remembered for as long as this perishing world remains. 

Al- Abbas «&> : O my nephew, against whom will this battle go? 

Ali &> : O Uncle, against those who deny Allah and ascribe a son unto Him. Be 
certain of victory from Allah. O Commander of the Believers, write to your governor, 
Abu 'Ubaydah, and tell him that Allah's help is better for him than our help and 
reinforcements. He will soon find himself in a momentous situation. 

'Umar «§» mounted the mimbar and delivered such a sermon about the virtues of Jihad 
that it shook the listener's hearts and moved them to tears. He then dismounted and 
led the Muslims in Salah. After the Salah he wrote the following response to Abu 
'Ubaydah 4t: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

From : The slave of Allah, 'Umar, the Commander of the 

To : The Trustworthy One of the Ummah, Abu 'Ubaydah bin al- 
Jarrah and those Muhdjirin andAnsdr who are with him. 

Saldm Alaykum 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and send 
salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. 

Allah s help is better for you than ours. It is not through 
numbers that victory is gained, but through the help which Allah 
sends down. Allah, Most Honourable and Majestic says: 

Your armies will be of no benefit to you even if they are 
numerous and Allah is with the Believers. [8:19] 

Sometimes Allah helps a petty little group against a mighty army 
and victory comes only from Allah Most High who says, 

J^i O* r&J "^ lj^ Cr° (4^ 

Some of them have fulfilled their promise (to die in the Path of 
Allah) while others still wait to. [33:23] 

Congratulations to the martyrs! Congratulations to he who 
relies upon Allah! Now go and confront the enemy with those 
Muslims who are with you. Do not be despondent about those 
Muslims who were brought down. For I saw such people with 
Rasululldh H in many battles but they never showed 
helplessness against the enemy until they became martyred. Do 



not fear death but strive in the Path of Allah as it should be 


77/ey saz d nothing except, "O our Rabbi Forgive our sins and 

transgressions in our matter and entrench our feet and help us 

against the Disbelieving Nation. " So Allah granted them the 

reward of this world and the better reward of the Hereafter. 

Allah loves those who do good. [3:147-8] 

When my letter reaches you, read it out to the Muslims and order 
them to fight the enemy in the Path of Allah. Recite unto them : 

^•_jj>djL) iSsisJ 4JJ! Ijjjjlj \j)oj\jj 

O you who believe! Be patient, help one another in patience 

and defend each other and fear Allah so that you may be 

successful. [3:200] 

Was-saldmu 'alayka wa rahmatulldhi wa bardktuhu. 

20) Status of Umar & 

'Umar & folded the letter and handed it to Ibn Qurt 4fe, saying, "Ibn Qurt, when you 
come to the Muslims line them up and go between the lines until you come to the 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

flag-bearers. Inform them that you are my messenger and say: 'Umar bin al-Khattab 
conveys his salam and says, 'O people of Faith, show them what battle is about when 
you confront them. Be as fierce as lions against them. Strike their heads with your 
swords. Consider them to be less than flies because you will be victorious if Allah 
wills.' Then recite unto them : 

Verily the party of Allah is victorious. [5:56] 

'Abdullah bin Quri -*> narrates: 

I said to him, "O Commander of the Believers, make du'a unto Allah that I travel 
safely and speedily." 

'Umar 4b prayed, "O Allah, defend him, keep him safe and fold up the long 
distances. Indeed You have power over all things." 

I then departed from the Masjid via the Ethiopia Gate and said to myself, "I will 
commit a grave error if I fail to make salam at the tomb of Rasulullah S, for I do not 
know whether or not I will see it again." 

So I went to the room where 'Aishah was sitting at the grave. 'Alt * and al-'Abbas 
4* were also present with al-Husayn sitting in 'All's lap and al-Hasan in al-'Abbis's 
lap. They were reciting Suratul-An'am while 'All was reciting Surah Hud. I made 
salam to Rasulullah ®. 

'Alt 4b : O Ibn Quit, are you going back to Syria? 

Ibn Qurt & : Yes, O cousin of Rasulullah 0. 1 think that once I reach there the two 
armies will already be deeply embroiled in fighting. They will see me coming 
without help or reinforcements. I really fear that they will become weak and 
frightened. I wish that I could reach them before they fight so that I can at least 
advise them and counsel them with patience. 

'Ali 4> : So what is stopping you from asking 'Umar to make du'a for you? Do you 
not know, Ibn Quit, that his du'a is never rejected and always reaches Allah and that 
Rasulullah & said in his regard: "Were there to be another prophet after me it would 
have been 'Umar." Is he not that man whose decisions corresponded to that of the 



Quran until Rasulullah $& said, "Were punishment to fall from the sky to Earth, none 
would escape it except 'Umar bin al-Khattab." 

Do you not know that Allah revealed clear verses about him? Is he not ascetic, pious 
and always engaged in worship? Does he not greatly resemble the prophet Nuh SS9? 
Should he offer du'a on your behalf it would be answered. 

21) Seven day journey in three days 

Ibn Qurt ^ : I am well aware of all these virtues of 'Umar which you have 
mentioned, but in addition I would like your du'a and the du'a of al-'Abbas, the 
paternal uncle of Rasulullah S, especially here at the noble tomb of Rasulullah S. 

Al-'Abbas <& raised his hand in supplication. 'All, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, 'Aishah (and 
Hafsah and Umm Salamah fa who had also arrived) joined him. He prayed, "O Allah, 
we seek intercession through this Chosen Prophet and selected Messenger through 
whom Adam also sought intercession and then You forgave his error. O Allah, make 
the road easy for 'Abdullah and fold up the long distances for him. Help the Sahabah 
of Your Prophet with victory. You are the Hearer of Du'a." 

He then said, "Go, 'Abdullah, for it is unlikely that Allah will reject the du'a of 
'Umar, 'Abbas, 'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and the wives of Rasulullah S, especially 
when they have interceded through the best of all creation." 

Ibn Qurt narrates: 

I departed overjoyed. I sat on my camel's saddle and traversed the desert, still happy 
at the du'a of 'Ali, al-'Abbas and 'Umar. I left al-Madinah after 'Asr of the same day 
that I had arrived. 

When darkness fell and night cast its veil, I slackened the camel nose-rope but felt as 
if it was flying off with me. I travelled like that for three days. At the time of Salatul 
'Asr of the third day I reached al-Yarmuk and could hear the athan. I went to Abu 
'Ubaydah's 4» tent, made my she-camel sit and made salam to him, having not seen 
seen him for the last ten days. 

Upon telling him about the du'a of 'Umar, 'Ali, al- Abbas, al-Hasan and al-Husayn fa 
he said, " O Ibn Qurt, you have spoken the truth. Allah holds them to be noble and 
does not reject their du'a. He then read the letter to the Muslims who were quite 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

satisfied and said, "O commander, there is none amongst us except that he seeks 
martyrdom. Allah Most High is now sending it to us." 

22) Sa'id bin 'Amir and his army 

'Amr bin 'Ala narrates from Majid who narrates from the reliable narrators: 

'Abdullah bin Qurt * left al-Madinah on Friday. After performing Salatul Fajr with 
'Umar bin al-Khattab we were reciting from the Quran when suddenly we heard 
shouts and terrifying sounds. Our hearts filled with fear and we rushed out of the 
masjid to find 6,000 Yamanis from Sadwan, Saba and Hadramawt gathering for 
Jihad. Jabir bin Khawal ar-Raba'i led them. 

Their chiefs came walking and made salam to 'Umar bin al-Khattab who ordered 
them to encamp at al-Madinah. That same night Sa'id bin 'Amir arrived with 1,000 
horsemen from Makkah, at-Taif, Wadi an-Nakhlah and Thafiq. They also made 
salam to 'Umar 4$> and camped opposite the Yamanis. On Sunday, 'Umar & came to 
see to the weak ones and to equip the armies. He then tied a red flag onto a long spear 
and gave it to Sa'id bin 'Amir. 

Sa'id bin 'Amir narrates: 

I intended departing but 'Umar 4& said, "Ibn 'Amir, wait until I have given you 

When he returned on foot to give the advice, 'Uthman &, al-'Abbas &, 'All & and 
'Abdurahman bin 'Awf & accompanied him. 'Umar 4* stood with the people around 
him and said, "O Sa'id, I appoint you over this army, but that does not mean you are 
the best of them unless you fear Allah. When you go, be lenient upon them as far as 
possible. Do not verbally disgrace them, do not consider the youngsters low, do not 
give undue preference to the strong, do not follow your personal desires, do not 
travel through the deserts but choose the level, soft ground instead. Do not encamp 
with them at the main routes. I leave Allah Most High to watch over you on my 
behalf and on behalf of your men." 

'Ali *fe : Listen to the instructions of the Commander of the Believers through whom 
Allah completed forty (i.e. 'Umar 4& was about the fortieth person to embrace Islam 
- translator's note) and through whom this Ummah is called Believers. He is that 
man about whom Rasulullah S said: "If you obey him you will be on guidance and 
the correct way." 



Sa'id, go and when you meet Abu 'Ubaydah 4s and confront that army the like of 
which does not exist elsewhere and you find matters too difficult then write to the 
Commander of the Believers so that he can send me to turn the Christians upside 
down in Syria, Allah willing. 

Ibn 'Amir departed reciting: 
'jr+i Jc^' b* t£*** J* J* *>** JL *"-> if* cr^f-i J-s ' 

fiPzY/z a« a/7M_y of honourable men we are travelling 

On bellowing horses who are persevering. 

To Jarrah 's lion-cub and those who were 

unto our Prophet a companion 

To help him and Allah will assist His religion. 

Against every stubborn, accursed Disbeliever 

Who denies Allah and worships the Cross Forever. 

He travelled with all haste. 

23) Sa'id's dream 

Sa'id bin 'Amir narrates: 

1 knew the cities and roads of Syria since I travelled there once or twice a year. I 
travelled recklessly off the main routes following the stars. When I led the Muslims 
out of al-Madinah I took the Busra Road. Having gone off the main road I ended up 
lost, wary of the enemy and fearing for the Muslims. I had been avoiding the enemy 
habitations and sticking to the desert as Allah had put it in my heart to be merciful to 
His believing slaves. Once lost, I could not find the road again. It was as if I had 
never travelled on it before. I stopped in confusion until the Muslims behind me 
caught up with me but I did not tell them what was wrong, that is, that I had lost the 
road. I was reciting, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good 
except through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

I wandered in that state of confusion for two days and nights until the Muslims began 
to question me about that. I said to them, "I am on the right track." 

On the tenth day of our departure from al-Madinah, a huge mountain became visible. 
I scrutinised it but could not recognise it, so I said, "You have deceived the Muslims 
but if that is the mountain of Ba'labakk then the road will easily be found." 

The mountain was visible at the beginning of the day, but we only reached it at night. 
As we neared it we came across a valley where there was a massive tree. Upon 
examining it I recognised it and called out, "Good news. We have attained Syria and 
victory for the Muslims." 

Once we entered the valley we found it to be rough and roadless and this added to 
the fatigue of the Muslims. Most of the Muslims were on foot, supporting each other 
as they followed the camels and horses. When the Muslims saw the desolateness of 
the valley and the rough path, they complained, "O Sa'id, we think that you have lost 
the road and are taking us on the wrong path. Let us rest for a while in this valley for 
this journey has really harmed us." 

I gave them permission, so they went to drink from a gushing spring in the valley and 
watered their camels and horses and let them graze from the leaves of the trees. Most 
of the Muslims went to sleep while some engaged themselves in conveying 
salutations upon Muhammad S. I was sitting amongst the sleeping ones to guard 
them. I recited the Quran and was making du'a for safety when sleep overcame me. 
I dreamt that I was in a garden with many trees and fruit. I was eating from its fruit 
and drinking from its rivers. I also plucked the fruit to give to my companions. They 
ate and I was happy. While I was in that state a lion suddenly sprang from amongst 
the trees and roared right in my face, intending to rip me apart. Suddenly two giant 
lions attacked the lion and brought it to the ground. It rumbled loudly and with that 
I awoke with the sweetness of the fruit still in my mouth and the image of the lions 
in my mind. 

I interpreted the dream to mean that the Muslims would gain great booty which they 
would then be prevented from, but would again triumph in the end. I said to myself, 
"The garden perhaps represents martyrdom." 

I continued to sit and read the Quran in a state of great anxiety when I heard a voice 
call out from the right side of the valley: 



^l— r— "— Jl j .»i— »— « 0^ o, 1 « • _ ,.< (^iLn-w* Vj ^-*- (j— • *-,;.,-» L-« 

iVjS/l £_» JL_*J1 I j — ^-jL-k-jj jl — ij j»_ £_, <il > : .^, „.■.,.■■>. 

arwj of the Guide, do not be frightened by this valley 

Though it be rough and roadless. 

There are no Jinn therein and it is quite enemyless. 

Soon you will be treated like children with love and mercy. 

Allah will grant you wealth and children aplenty. 

Upon hearing this poem and the promised booty I prostrated out of thanks to Allah 
and found the Muslims to have awoken due to the recitation of the poem. I 
memorised one couplet of the poem while Sammah memorised the remaining three 
which he recited to me. The Muslims were overjoyed at what they heard from the 
unseen voice and were pleased with the promise of booty. 

24) Capture of al-Jinan 

We remained in the valley until morning when I led them in Salatul Fajr. At sunrise 
we left the valley. By this time I recognised the land and mountain which was ar- 
Raqim Mountain. I called out loudly, "Allahu Akbar!" The Muslims echoed my call 
and asked, "What do you see, Ibn 'Amir?" 

"We have reached the lands of Syria," I replied, "This is ar-Raqim Mountain." 

(Where the Seven Companies slept for centuries - see Surah al-Kahf- translator's 

Because most of the men were uneducated bedouins, they queried, "What is ar- 

"Do you not know?" I exclaimed and told them the story which amazed them. I then 
took them to the Cave where they performed Salah. 

We continued until we approached 'Amman. From here I diverted to a village called 
al-Jinan. The village-chiefs were at that time marching out of the village with their 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

wives and children. When the Muslims saw them they attacked without my 
permission and took some of them as prisoners. 

The rest returned to the village and took refuge in a fort. I went to the fort and called 
out, "Woe unto you! To where were you marching before you ran back?" One of 
them came and said, "O 'Arabs, we were going out, but you frightened us. The 
governor of 'Amman had ordered us to go to 'Amman to be under his protection 
there. O 'Arabs, will you grant us your rule and protection?" 

"Yes," I replied and wrote out the treaty for them stipulating payment of 10,000 
dinar. When we wished to leave they said, "Nikita, governor of 'Amman will 
definitely put you to great difficulty. If you triumph over him it will be to our 
mutual benefit." 

"How do we overcome him?" I asked. 

They replied, "King Bannes has ordered Nikita to take his men to join Constantine 
at Caesarea. If you manage to reach and defeat him before he leaves you will acquire 
a large booty." 

"How many troops are there in 'Amman?" I asked. 

"5,000," they replied, "but their hearts are filled with terror of you. They will never 
be victorious." 

"O Muslims," I called out, "What do you say about attacking the patrician of 
'Amman and winning his booty?" 

"As you wish," they replied. "For if Allah kills him at our hands it will be good for 
the Muslims and a defeat for the Christians." 

I asked the villagers, "Which road will they be passing through?" 

They pointed out the Amorium Road. We continued until we reached another huge 
valley where we hid for a day and night without anyone pitching up. 

25) The dream fulfilled 

In the morning I said, "O Muslims, 'Umar has sent us to reinforce Abu 'Ubaydah. To 
fulfil that purpose is much better than sitting here. Leave now. May Allah have mercy 
upon you. It will weaken and disgrace the Christians when we arrive with our 7,000 



They complained, "O Sa'id, we were looking forward to the booty so do not deprive 

While they were arguing a party of monks and priests appeared. They were wearing 
fur and carrying crosses. Their heads were shaven in the middle. The Muslims rushed 
at them and brought them back as prisoners. 

Sa 'id : Who are you? 

Chief Priest : We are the monks of these monasteries. We are going to Constantine 
to pray for his victory. 


Go and pray as you like, but the prayer of the Disbelievers is 
in vain! [40:50] 

What news do you have of what is behind you? 

Priest : Behind us the governor of 'Amman is coming with 5,000 Christian cavalry. 

Sa'id : O Allah, make that booty for us. Listen old man, our Prophet $ has 
prohibited us from harming the monks who remain in their monasteries. We would 
release you but we fear that you will warn the enemy about us. 

I then ordered the Muslims to tie them up which they did with their waist-bands. 
Suddenly the 'Amman cavalry could be seen coming. Ahead of them were men on 
foot who were removing the stones from the track. As soon as they came we attacked 
them without even waiting to get our gear. We raised cries of, "La ilaha illallah 
wallahu Akbar!" and slew the footmen to the last man. 

When the patrician saw what the Muslims had done he ordered the cavalry to charge 
and a heavy battle ensued. I saw the Muslims spreading death amongst the Christians 
and calling out, "La ilaha illallah wallahu Akbar!" until the patrician fled in the 
direction of 'Amman. His men followed him. Some of the Muslims went in pursuit 
of them while others went to collect the booty. Nikita was far ahead of his men and 
then stopped in order for them to catch up to him. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

During that time a cavalry numbering about 1,000 came charging from behind them. 
They held their bridles loose and spears fixed. Two horsemen who resembled lions 
were in the lead. One of them was az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 4& and the other al-Fadl 
bin al-' Abbas 4&. They attacked and spread death amongst the Christians. Az-Zubayr 
4» attacked Nikita who had halted under a cross and speared him right through the 
heart, flinging him from his horse. Allah thus sped his soul to Hell. Al-Fadl advanced 
striking down and killing the enemy. 

When we arrived I thought that the Romans were fighting each other, but upon 
hearing, "La ilaha illallah wallahu Akbar," being called out we said, "That is the 
proclamation of Truth." So I plunged into the battle and heard al-Fadl proclaiming 
his lineage, "I am the cousin of Rasulullah S." 

By Allah! Not a single enemy escaped. 

I said to al-Fadl &, "Ibn 'Abbas, praise be to Allah for you. Who amongst the 
Sahabah of Rasullullah ill are with you?" 

"Az-Zubayr bin al 'Awwam &, the son of the aunt of Rasullullah S, is with me," he 

Az-Zubayr & came to me and said, "Ibn 'Amir, why did you not come to us? Salim 
bin Nawfal al-'Adawi told us that you were supposed to be coming. We had bad 
thoughts of what might have befallen you so Abu 'Ubaydah sent us to raid 'Amman. 
Praise be to Allah for the safety of the Muslims and destruction of the Disbelievers." 

Upon az-Zubayr's 4& orders the Muslims beheaded the enemy corpses and stuck the 
heads on their spear-points. The heads amounted to 4,000 and the prisoners 1,000. 
Sa'id released the monks and the Muslims went on to Abu 'Ubaydah &. When they 
arrived their voices echoed with, "La ilaha illallah," and "Allahu Akbar". The other 
Muslims responded in a like manner. 

These calls confused the Romans and when they saw the arrival of the 8,000 
Muslims carrying the Roman heads they became absolutely bewildered. When Sa'id 
reported to Abu 'Ubaydah & about the victory and booty, the commander fell into 
prostration out of thanks to Allah. 

He then ordered the prisoners to be beheaded. They were taken and beheaded in sight 
of the Romans. 



Qutbah bin Suwayd narrates: 

The Romans were informed that not one of the 'Amman garrison had survived. 

26) Bannes's scheme 

The Sahabah of Rasullullah S were greatly depressed at the capture of the five 
Sahabah of Rasullullah S with Abu 'Ubaydah 4b being the most saddened of all. He 
constantly wept and made du'a for their release. The five were brought before 
Bannes, may Allah's curse and anger be upon him, who belittled them and said to 
Jabalah, "Who are they?" 

Jabalah : O King, they are from the Muslim army. They were a band of sixty, of 
whom I killed the majority and captured these five. Now there remains none in the 
army to be feared except one man who keeps them firm and launches their attacks. 
He is the one who conquered Arakah, Palmyra, Hawran, Busra and Damascus. He is 
the one who broke our ranks at Ajnadayn and chased Thomas and Herbius. He killed 
them and captured Heraclius's daughter. He is Khalid bin al-Walid. 

Bannes : I will devise some scheme to bring him to me and then I will kill him 
together with these five prisoners. 

Bannes summoned a Roman sage, Jarjah, who was fluent in 'Arabic and said to him, 
"Jarjah, I am sending you to the 'Arabs. Tell them to send an envoy to us, but 
stipulate that the man called Khalid must come." 

He rode to the Muslim camp where he met Khalid 4b. 

Khalid <&> : What do you want? 

Jarjah : King Bannes has sent me to you to request that you send an envoy. It may 
be that God stops the bloodshed between us. 

Khalid 4& : I will be the envoy. 

He took him to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b and informed him of his intention to go to Bannes. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : Abu Sulayman, go, may Allah keep you safe. Perhaps Allah will 
guide them or perhaps he wants to surrender and pay Jizyah and then Allah will spare 
bloodshed through you. The saving of one Muslim's blood is more beloved unto 
Allah than all the Disbelievers put together. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Khdlid 4fe : I seek Allah's aid. 

He went to his tent where he put on a pair of Hijazi socks, his black turban, his 
leather-belt and sword which he had seized from Musaylamah al-Kaththab at the 
battle of Yamamah. He then ordered his slave, Hammam, to take his red tent made 
of Taifi leather which was embossed with gold and decorated with silver ornaments. 
He had bought it from the wife of Maysarah bin Masriiq al-' Absi for 300 dinars. It 
was loaded onto a mule while Khalid 4& mounted his horse. As he was about to depart 
Abu 'Ubaydah <& called out, "Abu Sulayman, take some Muslim men with you to 
aid you." 

Khdlid 4*> : I would like that, but I cannot force them for they owe me no obedience. 
So you order whom you like. 

Mu 'dth bin Jabal ^ : Abu Sulayman, you are of high rank. Were you to order us we 
would obey for you are going in obedience to Allah and His Messenger &>. 

Khalid 4b selected 100 Muhajirin and Ansar to accompany him. These included : al- 
Mirqal bin 'Utbah bin Abi Waqqas; Shurahbil bin Hasanah 4b; Sa'id bin Zayd bin 
'Amr bin Nufayl al-'Adawi; Maysarah bin Masruq al-'Absi; Qays bin Hubayrah al- 
Muradi; Sahl bin 'Amr al-Amiri; Jarir bin 'Abdillah al-Bujali; al-Qa'qa' bin 'Amr at- 
Tamimi; Jabir bin 'Abdillah al-Ansari; 'Ubadah bin as-Samit al-Khazraji; al-Aswad 
bin Suwayd al-Mazini; Thul Kala' al-Himyari; al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad al-Kindi and 
'Amr bin Madikarab az-Zubaydi. May Allah be pleased with them all. Khalid <$> 
continued selecting such great personalities until the hundred were completed, each 
of them willing to take on an entire army on his own. 

They put on their good clothes and war-gear and threw their cloaks on top of that. 
They then bound turbans on their heads and attached daggers to their waists and took 
their swords. Finally they mounted their horses. Khalid & left with Mu'ath <&> on his 
right, al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad al-Kindi & on his left and all the rest surrounding him. 

27) Allah's mat 

MuS'fli bin Jabal 4b narrates: 

So we went proclaiming, "La ilaha illallah," and "Allahu Akbar." 



Nasr bin Salim al-Mazint narrates: 

I saw that as Khalid * and his men departed Abu 'Ubaydah & recited a verse of the 
Quran, weeping until his tears flowed down his cheeks. I asked him, "O 
commander, why do you weep?" 

"O Ibn Salim," he answered, "By Allah! These are the helpers of the Din. If anything 
should happen to even one of them under the command of Abu 'Ubaydah .&, then 
what excuse can he offer to the Rabb of all the worlds and to the Commander of the 
Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattab?" 

When Khalid 4b and his men arrived at the Roman camp they saw that it was spread 
over a distance of five Farsakh (27.4 km). 

Nawfal bin Dahyah narrates: 

Khalid 4h and the 100 men dismounted. They walked confidently and dragged their 
swords. They fearlessly went right through the ranks of attendants and patricians 
fearing none of them until they reach Bannes who was sitting on his throne. 
Cushions, rugs and brocade decorated the tent. When the Sahabah <& saw all this 
beauty and pomp they declared Allah's greatness and refused to sit on the chairs that 
were brought for them. They went to the extent of removing the rugs etc. and sitting 
on the bare ground. Bannes smiled at this and said, "O 'Arabs, you refuse our 
hospitality. Why did you remove the seats and sit on the bare ground? You showed 
no etiquette towards us and trampled on our rugs." 

Khalid ■& : To show etiquette to Allah is better than to show etiquette to you. The mat 
of Allah, the Earth, is much purer than your filthy mat for our Prophet S has said, 
"The Earth has been made a masjid and means of purification for me." 

From the earth We have created you. To it We will return you 
and then extract you a second time. [20:55] 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

'Asim bin Rawwah az-Zubaydi narrates from Ibn 'Abdillah ash-Shaybani who 
narrates from Tarfah bin Shaybah al-Khawlani who narrates from his paternal 
uncle, Jarlr, who was an ally of Khalid £>: 

There was no intermediary between Khalid <& and Bannes. They spoke face-to-face. 

Khalid 4fc : Bannes, I dislike to initiate the dialogue, so you say what you want to. 
However, I do not care what you say, I will have an answer for you - whether you 
speak first or I do. 

Bannes : I begin praising God who made His soul, Christ, His Word, who made our 
Emperor the best of all and who made our nation the best nation. 

28) Bannes 's drivel 

Khalid 4» was upset and cut him short. The translator reprimanded him, "O 'Arab 
brother, do not interupt the words of the king. Observe due etiquette." Khalid 4h 
however refused to keep silent. 

Khalid 4& : Praise be to Allah who made us believers in our Prophet, your Prophet 
and in fact all the Prophets and Who made our Commander as but one of us, were he 
to claim to rule us we would depose him - we give him no rank over us except if He 
fears Allah. We praise Him who made our Ummah that which orders the good, 
forbids the bad, confesses sins, seeks forgiveness from sins and worships Allah alone 
without ascribing any partner unto Him. 

Bannes's face turned yellow but he kept silent for a while. 

Bannes : Praise be to God who tested us and found us worthy, who relieved us from 
poverty, who helped us against our enemies, who granted us dignity and prevented 
all injury from us. We are not of those who become arrogant and proud due to the 
blessings of God. O 'Arabs, a group of you will always prostrate before us, snatch 
our hand-outs, follow us and our authority. We were good unto them, honoured them 
and their down-trodden ones. We recognised their value and fulfilled our agreements 
with them. We thought that all the 'Arab tribes would be aware of these policies and 
would be grateful for the wonderful gifts we showered upon them. So when you 
people came with all your horses and men we but thought that you were coming to 
seek what your brethren always sought, but alas, we were wrong. You came killing 
men, enslaving women, plundering wealth, destroying buildings and seeking to drive 
us out of your own lands and conquer everything. Others also attempted this before 



you who were stronger, more numerous, better armed and richer than you but we 
always threw them out, unsuccessful, afraid and half-dead. We first did this to the 
Emperor of Persia. God sent him back in disgrace. Similarly we dealt with the kings 
of the Turks, the Jaramiqah and others. 

As for you, there is no nation less significent or more despicable than you. You are 
wretched, suffering bedouins who know nothing but poetry. Inspite of all that you 
commit oppression not only in your own lands but now come to our lands as well, 
whereas we are a mighty nation, powerful and strong enough to stop you. Now you 
come from your rainless, famine-stricken country and what havoc you wreak. You 
mount horses which do not belong to you. You wear clothing which does not belong 
to you. You use the daughters of Rome, the young white girls, and enslave them. You 
eat food which is not yours. You wrongfully fill your hands with our gold, silver and 
fine goods. 

Now we meet you in this state that you still have all that you have stolen from our 
people and co-religionists. Keep it! We demand nothing back from you, nor do we 
even rebuke you. All we ask is that you withdraw from our lands. If you refuse we 
will wipe you out. If you are agreeable to peace we will give each of your soldiers 
100 dinar and a robe. For Abu 'Ubaydah, your general, 1,000 dinar and for your 
Khalifah, 'Umar, 10,000 dinar. This is on the condition that you vow never to return. 

29) No brotherhood with Christians 

Bannes thus sometimes threatened and sometimes bribed while Khalid 4fe remained 
silent until he had completed. 

Khalid 4k : The king has spoken and has spoken well while we listened. Now we will 
speak while he listens. 

All praise belongs to Allah besides whom there is no other deity. 

Bannes (stretching his hands to the sky) : Yes, it is as you say, O 'Arab. 

Khalid ■*> : I bear witness that there is no deity besides Allah and that Muhammad is 
His Slave and Messenger. 

Bannes : I do not know if Muhammad is a messenger or not. It may or may not be as 
you claim. 

Khalid^. : Every man prefers his own religion. The best moment is that wherein the 
Rabb of all the worlds is recognised. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Bannes (speaking in his language to his people) : This is an intelligent man who 
speaks words of wisdom. 

Khdlid <& : What did you tell your people now? 

(He told him). 

Khdlid <$> : Allah Most High alone is to be praised for whatever intelligence I may 
have been granted. I have heard our Prophet Muhammad saying, 

"When Allah created intelligence, gave it form and limits. He said, 'Come forward' 
so it came forward. Then he said, 'Go back' so it went back. Allah Most High then 
said, 'By My Honour and Majesty! I have not created a creation more beloved unto 
me than you. Through you will my obedience be attained and my Paradise entered. '" 

Bannes : If you had intelligence and understanding in this matter, you would not have 
brought all these men with you. 

Khdlid 4« : I brought them to consult with. 

Bannes : You claim that inspite of your sharp mind, deep insight and wise opinion 
you still need to consult with others? 

Khdlid &> : Certainly! Allah Most Honourable and Majestic has ordered our Prophet 
Muhammad to do this. He says in His Honourable Book : 

Consult them in the affair and then when you have reached a 
decision place your reliance upon Allah. [3:159] 

The Prophet S said, "A man who recognises his worth is not destroyed nor is a 
Muslim who consults destroyed. " 

So even if I am intelligent and wise as you claim yet I am not independent of the 
opinions of my companions. 

Bannes : Is there anyone in your army equal to you in wisdom and intelligence? 

Khdlid 4& : Yes, there are more than 1,000 such men whose views and consultation 
cannot be ignored. 



Bannes : We never thought that about you people. We heard that you are a greedy, 
ignorant nation bereft of all intelligence. You attack each other and loot each other's 

Khalid^ : Yes, that was the state of most of us until Allah sent our Prophet $ to us. 
He guided us, showed us the correct way and made us understand the difference 
between good and evil, guidance and misguidance. 

Bannes : Khalid, your wisdom and insight really amazes me. I would love to have 
you as my brother and intimate friend. 

Khalid <$> : It would be an occasion of great joy were your words to be fulfilled. You 
will be most fortunate and we will never separate from each other. 

Bannes : How is it to be achieved? 

Khalid «fc : Say, "I bear witness that there is no deity besides Allah and that 
Muhammad is his Slave and Messenger about whom 'Isa bin Maryam had 
prophesied." Once you have done that you will be my brother and I yours. We will 
never separate except through some calamity. 

Bannes : You have called me to leave my religion and enter yours, but that is 

Khalid 4*> : Then it also impossible for us to be brothers for as long as. you remain on 
your astray religion. 

30) Khalid 4h responds to Bannes 

Bannes : I will address you modestly as a brother. Answer my proposals and I will 

Khalid & : We already know of all that you have mentioned with regard to your 
people being wealthy, honoured, powerful, strong against enemies and established in 
the lands. We also know about the generosity you have mentioned which you show 
to your 'Arab neighbours. However, you have done all that simply to maintain your 
opulence with a view to protecting yourselves and children and ultimately to increase 
your wealth and prestige. So your empire increases and you impose your imperialist 
policies on whomever you please. 

As for your saying that we are poor and herd camels and sheep, what of it? Most of 
us do this and he who herds is of higher status amongst us than he who does not herd. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

We do not deny when you say that we are poor, wretched and suffering. That is 
because Allah has made us 'Arabs inhabit a waterless, treeless land wherein there is 
but little cultivation. In pre-Islamic times we were all ignorant. A man would own 
nothing except his horse, sword, camels and sheep. The strong would eat the weak. 
None were safe from each other except during the four sacred months. Instead of 
worshipping Allah we worshipped idols who neither hear, nor see, nor benefit. We 
would bow down to them and carry them. We were on the edge of a pit of fire. 
Whoever died amongst us died as a polytheist and would go to Hell. Those living 
denied their Rabb and broke family ties. 

Then Allah sent unto us a Prophet as a guide, one who is guided and as a prophet and 
messenger. We all knew his worth and noble lineage. He was sent as a pious leader 
who proved Islam and refuted the Polytheist. He brought the clear Quran and the 
Straight Path and with him Allah brought the process of prophethood to an end. He 
ordered us to worship Allah and not to ascribe any partners unto Him. He forbade us 
from having any helper besides Allah and from ascribing any wife, son, partner or 
equal unto Allah. He taught us that we should not bow down to the sun, the moon, 
light, fire, cross or altar. We should bow down to none except Allah alone who has 
no partner and should acknowledge the Prophet S, his Sahabah and family. 

Allah revealed to him His speech through which our master guided us. We accepted 
and obeyed him. Amongst his orders is that we should wage Jihad against those who 
do not accept our religion, who do not say as we say, who deny Allah and who 
ascribe partners unto Him whereas He is too grand for such a thing and neither sleep 
nor slumber overtakes Him. 

Whoever follows us will be our brother and will have the same rights and obligations 
as the rest of us. Whoever refuses Islam will have to pay Jizyah, humbly with his own 
hand. Then his blood, children and wealth will be safe. Whoever refuses both Islam 
and Jizyah will face our swords until Allah decides the outcome, and He is the best 

We call you to these three options besides which there is no other choice. Either say, 
"We bear witness that there is no deity except Allah alone Who has no partner and 
that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger," or pay Jizyah. Adult males have to pay 
it annually. However, pre-adolescents, women and monks who seclude themselves in 
their monasteries are not liable to pay it. 

Bonnes : Is there any other obligation after saying, "There is no deity besides Allah"? 



Khdlid 4» : Yes. You must establish Salah, pay Zakah, perform Hajj to the Sacred 
House, wage Jihad against those who deny Allah, order the good, forbid the evil, 
befriend for the sake of Allah and make enemies for the sake of Allah. If you refuse 
then there will be war between us until Allah grants the Earth to whomsoever He 
wishes, but the result is always in favour of those who fear Him. 

Bonnes : Do as you please for we will never abandon our religion or pay Jizyah. As 
for your saying that He gives the Earth to whomever He likes, that is true for once 
upon a time this land belonged neither to us nor to you, but to another nation. We 
fought them until we took it from them. So now there will be war between us. Come 
and fight in the name of God. 

Khdlid * : You cannot be more eager for war than us. It is as if I already see you 
defeated with victory ahead of us. You will be dragged with a rope around your neck 
in disgrace and humiliation. You will be brought before 'Umar bin al-Khattab who 
will behead you. 

Bannes became furious. When the Romans saw that, they wanted to kill Khalid * 
but awaited Bannes's orders. 

Bannes : By Christ! I will now bring your five captured men and behead them in 
front of you. 

Khdlid 4t : Listen to what I say, Bannes! You are indeed disgusting enough to do such 
a deed. Know that they are of us and we are of them. I swear that if you kill them 
then I will kill you with this sword of mine and each one of my men will kill one or 
more of your men. 

Khalid <&> then sprang from his place, unsheathing his sword. His men imitated him 
and shouted, "La ilaha illallah Muhammad Rasulullah S!" and sprang like camels or 
rather like beasts of prey. They sought to kill and were convinced that they would be 

31) Why this book was compiled 

I (al-Waqidi) swear by Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and Who is the 
Knower of the invisible and visible! I have evaluated and narrated these reports on 
the basis of utter honesty so that I can establish the great value of the Sahabah of 
Rasulullah H and refute the Shi'is who abandon both the Sunnah and what is 
obligatory. Allah has willed that were it not for them then those lands would not have 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

been in the possession of the Muslims and knowledge of this Din would not have 
spread. Allah be praised at their deeds! They waged Jihad as it should be waged. 
They were firm in confronting the enemy. They strove to their utmost. They helped 
this Din until they tore Disbelief from its seat and it declined. This is a well 
established fact. The King Who has all power has said about them: 

J^ ur 4 pT?j >*+*■ <>** o^ r^ 

Amongst them are those who have fulfilled their vows and 
amongst them are those who await. [33:23] 

32) The prisoners are released 

Muslim bin 'Abdil-Hamid narrates from his grandfather, Rati' bin Mazin: 

I was with Khalid 4&> the day he went to Bannes. We were in the tent when we drew 
our swords to attack them. We did not have any regard for the armies of Rome and 
were certain that we would be resurrected from that spot. 

Once Bannes understood our reality and death came flying from our swords he called 
out, "Respite! Khalid, do not be hasty in destruction. I know that you said those 
words in your capacity as envoy and envoys should be tolerated and not killed. I only 
uttered those words to test you and to see what you would do. Now I will seek no 
revenge from you. Return to your camp and prepare for battle until God grants 
victory to whom he chooses. 

Khalid 4fe> (sheathing his sword) : Bannes, what are you going to do to the 

Bannes : Out of honour of you I am freeing them. They may help you, but you will 
still be helpless against us tomorrow. 

Khalid *fc was delighted and told him to free them. After their chains were let loose 
he wanted to depart but Bannes said, "Khalid, I wish things were better between us. 
I want to ask you a favour." 

Khalid 4& : Ask what you will. 



Bannes : I like that red tent of yours. Gift it to me and take whatever pleases you in 
the camp in return. 

Khdlid & : By Allah! It pleases me no limit that you ask for something I own. It is 
yours. As for your offer to take something from the camp I have no need for it. 

Bannes : God be praised! How generous you are. 

Khdlid & : You are also generous to us in releasing our men from captivity. 

He then set out surrounded by his men. His horse was brought to him and they all 
mounted their horses. Bannes ordered his men and attendants to escort the Muslims 
to their camp and they did this. 

Khalid &> and his men reached Abu 'Ubaydah 4& and said salam to him. The Muslims 
were overjoyed at the release of the Sahabah of Rasulullah & and Khalid * then 
reported to Abu 'Ubaydah & all that had transpired. 

Khdlid & : I swear that Bannes only released them out of fear for our swords. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4»: He is a wise man except that the Devil has overpowered his wits. 
On what terms did you depart? 

Khdlid 4fe : That we will confront them tomorrow so that Allah may grant victory to 
whomever He desires to. 

33) The Muslims prepare for battle 

Thereupon Abu 'Ubaydah 4» gathered all his senior officers and stood to deliver a 
sermon to them. He praised Allah, made the appropriate mention of Rasulullah II and 
then informed them of the impending enemy attack the following morning. He thus 
advised them to get ready. The Muslims went about encouraging each other. 

Khalid 4» went to his elite force and said, "Know that these Disbelievers against 
whom Allah granted you victory in many places have now mobilised an army against 
you from all their lands. I entered their camp and found them to be as numerous as 
ants. However, they may have numbers but have no hearts, nor do they have Him to 
help them against you. This will indeed be the decisive battle between you and them. 
The battle is set to commence tomorrow morning. You being men of battle and 
combat, should express your feelings now. May Allah have mercy upon you." 

Muslims : O commander, battle is our goal and martyrdom in the Path of Allah Most 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

High is our happiness. We will be patient in every combat, stab and cut until Allah 
decides between us. Verily He is the Best Decider. 

Khalid 4& was pleased with this reply and exclaimed, "May Allah guide you and 
show you the correct way." 

Every Muslim spent the night arranging his gear, equipment and weapons. They 
spent the night overjoyed at the prospect of Jihad and reward from Allah but also 
fearing His punishment. In the morning, several proclaimers called out the athan 
which resulted in a loud and vocal declaration of the oneness of Allah's Being. The 
Muslims performed their wudu with the utmost care and then prayed behind Abu 
'Ubaydah <&. Thereafter they formed three joined rows to go against the enemy, the 
one in front not able to see the one at the back. Khalid & went to ask Abu 
'Ubaydah <&, "O commander, whom do you appoint over the left-wing?" 

He either replied, "Kinanah bin Mubarak al-Kinani," or '"Amr bin Ma'dikarab," 
Allah knows best which one. So he gave that one a bow, putting him in charge of the 
left-wing and then left upon Abu 'Ubaydah's & orders. 

Fadalah bin 'Amir narrates from Musa bin 'Awf who narrates from his 
grandfather, Yusuf bin Ma'n: 

Kinanah was a brave boy who was skilled in war-tactics. The following illustrates his 
bravery, sternness and horsemanship. He would leave the district of his tribe, Banu 
Kinanah and go to the district of enemy 'Arabs. He would call out to them 
announcing his name, and they would come out on horseback to fight him. If he 
defeated them then his object was attained and if he saw that they would overcome 
him he would dismount and run away. They were not able to catch anything of him 
except his dust. 

After Abu 'Ubaydah <& had appointed him he went to where he ordered him to go. 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4» then said to Khalid &>, "I am appointing you in overall command 
of both cavalry and infantry, so choose your deputies as you like." Khalid 4» said, "I 
will appoint such a man who has no equal." 

He then called Hashim bin 'Utbah bin Abi Waqqas and said to him, ."The 
commander appoints you over the infantry." 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& : Dismount, Hashim. May Allah have mercy on you. I will also join 



34) The two sides mobilise 

While Abu 'Ubaydah <& was mobilising the troops and arranging their formations, 
Khalid & said to him, "Send for the flag-bearers and tell them to listen to me." So he 
sumoned ad-Dahhak bin Qays and said to him, "Ibn Qays, hurry to the flag-bearers 
and say to them, 'The commander, Abu 'Ubaydah 4&>, commands you to listen to 
Khalid 4& and obey him.'" 

Ad-Dahhak thus went to the flag-bearers, reaching Mu'ath bin Jabal & last. 
Mu'ath 4& replied, "I hear and obey" and then turned to his men to say, "You have 
been placed under a man who is blessed in his attacks. Do not oppose him in what 
he orders you to do." 

He said that intending the well-being of the Muslims and hoping for reward from 

Ad-Dahhak bin Qays narrates: 

I said to Mu'ath &, "You utter very weighty words about Khalid *!" 

"I only utter that which I know about him," replied Mu'ath <&. 

"May Allah be praised for him!" 

I reported to Khalid & how Mu 'ath & had praised him. He praised him in return and 
said, "He is my brother for the sake of Allah. He and his companions have gone 
ahead and Khalid &, is unable to catch them." 

I returned to Mu'ath * and narrated Khalid's & words of praise. He exclaimed, "By 
Allah! I love him for the sake of Allah. I hope that Allah will reward him for his good 
intentions and well-wishing towards the Muslims." 

Once ad-Dahhak had gone to the flag-bearers telling them of Abu 'Ubaydah's 4& 
instructions to obey Khalid &, Khalid & went between the ranks, stopping at each 
flag to say, "O people of Islam, patience is the sign of firm resolution and bravery. 
Weak-heartedness and cowardice are causes for defeat. It is Allah's responsibility to 
help the patient man against his enemy for Allah is with him. Whoever is patient at 
the edge of swords will be honoured by Allah when he meets Him and will be shown 
gratitude for his action and effort. Allah loves those who are grateful." 

He gave this speech at every flag. He then gathered to himself all the patient, fierce 
warriors and those who had participated with him in combat and divided them into 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

four squadrons. He appointed Qays bin Hubayrah al-Muradi over the first squadron 
and said to him, "You are an 'Arab horseman. You are in charge of this cavalry, follow 
whatever I do." 

He then appointed and instructed Maysarah bin Masruq and 'Amir bin at-Tufayl 4&> 
in a like manner, taking personal command of the elite advance force. 

By sunrise all the military formations had been completed. 

On the other side, Bannes ordered the Romans to get all their decorations and gear. 
They did so, except that the Muslims were faster in getting ready. A party of Romans 
advanced towards the Muslims and saw the Muslims as if they were a single solid 
structure with birds shading them. Their ranks were all linked together with their 
spears forming a thicket of fixed points. At this sight Allah flung terror into their 

Bannes continued his preparations and placed the Christian 'Arabs of Ghassan, 
Lakhm and Jutiham as the vanguard. Jabalah was again in command of them. A 
silver cross weighing five Ritl was placed before him. It was plated with gold and 
had at each of the four branches a jewel glittering like stars. 

Sinan bin Aws ar-Raba'i narrates from 'Adi bin al-Harith al-Hamdani who was 
from those who participated in the conquest of Syria from beginning to end: 

Bannes formed thirty rows each of which equalled the entire Muslim army. He sent 
priests and monks amongst his men to recite the Bible and sing hymns and erected 
numerous flags, banners and crosses. 

35) Romanus and the patrician 

Once the Roman ranks were arranged a patrician emerged on a grey horse. He was 
heavily-built and wore golden armour and decorated upper-body armour. Around his 
neck was a jewel-encrusted gold cross. He was of high rank and a courtier of 
Heraclius. He started shouting in Greek in a voice like thunder. The Muslims 
realised that he must be challenging them to a duel but hesitated to go. Khalid 4» 
called out, "O Sahabah of Rasulullah S, this uncircumcised Christian challenges you 
to duel him but you hesitate. If you do not go then Khalid <& himself will." 

He was about to leave when a Muslim horseman mounted on a giant grey Turkish 
horse resembling the Christian's, rode to the patrician. He was wearing good upper- 



body armour and excellent gear. None of Khalid's & men recognised him so he 
instructed Hammam, "Go and investigate who this is from amongst the Muslims and 
to which nation and tribe he belongs." 

Hammam went out to him and just as the stranger was nearing the Christian he called 
out, "O man, who are you from amongst the Muslims? May Allah have mercy on 

"I am Romanus, governor of Busra," he replied. When Khalid 4& was informed he 
said, "O Allah, bless him and increase his intention." 

The patrician recognised Romanus and they spoke in Greek. 

Patrician : Romanus, how is it that you abandoned your religion and apostatised to 
these people? 

Romanus : The religion I have entered is noble and glorious. Whoever enters it is 
fortunate. Whoever opposes it is astray. 

The two then flung themselves at each other in a lengthy duel which astonished both 
parties. The patrician caught Romanus off-guard and managed to strike a blow which 
injured him and caused blood to flow. 

The blow affected Romanus so he turned back to the Muslims. The patrician came in 
pursuit, not slackening in the least. He was about to reach Romanus when the Muslim 
left- and right-wings started encouraging their man. This gave Romanus courage and 
dismayed the patrician. The Roman then turned and cut short his chase. 

Romanus entered the Muslim ranks with blood gushing from his face. A group of 
Muslims took him and bandaged his wounds. They thanked him for his action, 
promised him Allah's forgiveness and congratulated him on his safe return. 

Romanus's defeat made the patrician even more haughty. He uttered harsh words and 
challenged the Muslims to duel him. Maysarah bin Masriiq intended responding but 
Khalid 4& stopped him, saying "Maysarah, I prefer that you stay. You are an old man 
while he is a heavily-built brave youth. I do not want you to go, for a youth usually 
overpowers an old man. A single strand of hair of a Muslim is more beloved unto 
Allah than all the lives of those who do not believe." 

Maysarah then returned to his post. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

'Amir bin at-Tufayl 4» then wished to go and said, "0 Commander, you have 
exaggerated the greatness of this low Christian and placed fear in the hearts of the 

Khdlid 4b : Horsemen recognise their peers in battle whose bravery and strength 
cannot be hidden from them. You cannot overcome him for the bravery that he has 
displayed shows him to be a great horseman from amongst them. Go back to your 

'Amir 4t returned without arguing. 

36) Qays and the patrician 

The patrician continued issuing his challenge, so al-Harith bin 'Abdillah al-Azdi 
went to Khalid & and said, "O commander I am going out to him." 

"I swear," replied Khalid 4», "that you are quite intrepid, strong and fierce. I know 
you to be quite brave. If you want to go, go in the name of Allah and be resolute." 

Al-Harith took his gear and was about to depart when Khalid 4* called out, "Be 
careful, O slave of Allah, I want to ask you something." 

Al-Hdrith : Ask. 

Khdlid 4t : Have you engaged in a duel before this? 

Al-Hdrith : No. 

Khdlid 4i> : Then go back for you are inexperienced while he is experienced. He has 
tasted war and war has tasted him. I want a man who is equal in insight to him to go 
against him. 

Khalid 4i looked at Qays bin Hubayrah who said, "Abu Sulayman, if you are 
hinting at me then I will gladly duel him." 

Khdlid 4» : Go forth in the name of Allah for He is adequate. Allah Most High will 
help you against him. 

Qays rode his horse until it calmed down and then allowed it to trot towards the 
patrician. He shouted, "In the name of Allah and through the blessings of Rasulullah 
S." When the patrician saw his action he realised that it was a strong horseman from 
the Muslims and headed towards him. They attacked each other. Qays struck at the 



Christian's head who promptly protected himself with his shield. The sword cut right 
through the shield and became stuck in the Roman's helmet. Qays tried to extract it, 
but it remained firm. After these two blows they clashed and the Roman giant went 
at Qays intending to capture him. Qays on the other hand fasted and stood in salah at 
night after he had returned from the wars against the apostates making him very thin. 
He realised that he was about to be defeated and sought some strategy against the 
enemy. However, since his sword was lost he galloped away intending to get another 
sword from the Muslims and return although he had already lost hope. The Roman 
screamed and chased him. Qays then slowed down and said to himself, "Martyrdom 
is your desire after all, so why do you flee from this Christian?" 

When he turned back KMlid & shouted at him, "Qays, return and leave this to me. I 
beg you in the name of Allah and His Rasul." 

Qays : KMlid, you have begged me in the name of two great beings, but can you 
guarantee me that if I return you can increase my life-span? 

Khdlid 4* : No. 

Qays : Then I cannot flee and become an inmate of Hell. Rather I will be patient and 
attain Allah's pardon 

He then turned to his opponent without a sword, but he drew a dagger kept at his 
waist. KMlid 4b then called out, "Who will deliver this sword to Qays in order to 
earn divine reward?" 

"I, Abu Sulayman," volunteered 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr 4*. 

"By Allah! O Ibn Abi Bakr," exclaimed KMlid 4b, "You are the right man," and 
handed him the sword. 

37) 'Abdurahman 4fe and the patrician 

'Abdurahman 4fc took the sword and carried it to Qays. When the Romans saw him 
with Qays they thought that he had come to help Qays against their man, so another 
patrician came and joined the first one to help him against the Muslims. 
'Abdurahman 4s, gave Qays the sword and stayed there with him. The second 
patrician began to speak to him in a language he did not comprehend so he said, 
"Woe unto you! What are you saying? We do not understand your speech." A 
translator then arrived and said, "O 'Arabs! Do you not claim to be people of justice 
and correctness?" 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

'Abdurahman 4&> : Certainly. 

Translator : We see no justice when two of you come against one of us. 

'Abdurahman & : I only came to give my companion a sword and then return. Were 
100 of you to come out against one of us we would not be worried. You are now three 
men. I am enough to take on all three of you. 

When the translator informed the patrician of that he looked distrustfully at 
'Abdurahman &.. 

'Abdurahman 4& : Qays, you are tired Rest and watch what happens between me and them. 

He then attacked the patrician who had been speaking to him and speared him 
through the upper chest until the spear-point penetrated through his back and he fell 
down dead. The two remaining Christians came to attack him while Qays come to 
help him. 'Abdurahman «#> said, "No, I implore you in the name of Rasulullah S and 
Abu Bakr to let me fight these two alone. If I am slain then you are my partner in 
reward and convey my salam to 'Aishah and tell her, 'Your brother has joined your 
husband and father.'" 

So Qays stayed back, amazed at his action. 

'Abdurahman &> thrust his spear at the first Christian. The spear point broke off, 
stuck in the Roman's armour. So 'Abdurahman *&> threw away the spear and 
unsheathed his sword. He stood up on his saddle and struck such a blow at the Roman 
which split him in two pieces. The translator stood stunned and confused, staring at 
'Abdurahman 4&>, perplexed at his valour. Qays also stood up out of amazement so 
'Abdurahman 4a said to him, "What has made you stand, Qays?" and then killed the 
Roman in a single blow. When the Romans saw what had happened to their men they 
said, "These 'Arabs are nothing but devils." 

38) The patrician's dream 

When Bannes was informed, he said to his people, "Caesar really knew these people 
best. I now know that a difficult situation is to come on you. If you do not attack them 
with great numbers you will have no chance." A patrician then came to him and 
whispered for a long time in his ear. Bannes's face turned yellow and then the 
patrician left again. He remained as silent as if he were dumb. They questioned him 
as to what the patrician had said but he would not say anything. 



Someone who had witnessed the scene went to ask Jabalah for an explanation. He 
explained: When Bannes was told of the three, including the first patrician, he said, 
"They are helped against you." The patrician then came and said in his ear, "O king, 
what you say is true. Last night I dreamt that men mounted on grey and pie-bald 
horses descended from the sky. They were completely armed and surrounded the 
'Arabs whom we faced. None of us would come out against them except that they 
would kill him until they had killed most of us. I think that they are the same men. I 
now see how one of them killed three of us. They are certainly helped against us from 
the sky." 

This broke Bannes 's heart and he would not reply to anyone. The people gathered to 
question him as to what the patrician had told him, but he would not inform them. 
After persistent questioning he said as if he were delivering a sermon, "O people of 
this religion, if you do not fight you will be losers and Christ's wrath will fall upon 
you. God remains the Helper and Defender of this Faith. God has ample proof against 
you in that He sent a Messenger and Book unto you. That Messenger did not hanker 
after the world and he ordered you not to hanker after it. In His Book He 
commanded you not to oppress for He neither loves oppression nor oppressors. Now 
that you are hankering after the world, oppressing and opposing Him, He is helping 
your enemies against you. What excuse can you offer your Creator for abandoning 
the command of your Prophet and what has been revealed in the Book of your Lord? 
These 'Arabs who are facing you desire to kill your warriors and capture your 
children and women. Yet, you still remain in disobedience and sin, not fearing the 
Knower of the unseen. If God should snatch your Empire from your hands and grant 
victory to your enemy then that is only fair and just on His part, for you neither order 
good nor forbid evil." 

Bannes had ordered the patrician who had seen the dream to keep it concealed. As 
for Qays and 'Abdurahman <& they took the spoils of the three Romans and returned 
to the Muslim camp where they gave the spoils to Abu 'Ubaydah <$.. He said to them, 
"Whoever kills a horseman keeps the spoils - that is our order from 'Umar." 

They took the spoils back. 

Qays remained stationed where Khalid & had positioned him while 'Abdurahman 4» 
went out to the battlefield between the two parties. He had mounted the grey Turkish 
horse of the patrician he had killed but found that it did not proceed the way 'Arab 
horses do so he returned and changed it. He first attacked the right-wing where he 
caused much confusion and killed two horsemen. He returned to attack the centre 
then the left-wing where he was showered with arrows. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

A Roman came out against him and was killed after a battle lasting an hour. When 
another came he killed him too. Khalid & saw this and exclaimed, "O Allah! Oversee 
him with Your Eye and protect him for ' Abdurahman has started the war on his own." 

He then called out, '"Abdurahman, upon oath, return now." So he returned due to 
Khalid's * oath. 

39) The first martyrs 

Hizam bin Ghanam narrates: 

I said to someone who had participated in al- Yarmuk, "Did women participate with 
you in the battle?" "Yes" he replied, "Amongst them was Asma bint Abi Bakr - the 
wife of az-Zubayr bin al-' Awwam & - Khawlah bint al-Azwar, Nasibah bint Ka'b, 
Umm Aban - the wife of 'Ikramah bin Abi Jahl, 'Izzah bint 'Amir bin 'Asim ad- 
Dumari - who fought with her husband, Maslamah bin 'Awf ad-Dumari - Ramlah 
bint Tulayhah az-Zubayri, Ru'lah, Umamah, Zaynab, Hind, Ya'mur, Lubna and 
others like them - may Allah be pleased with all of them for they fought in a way 
which is certain to please Allah and His Rasul H. 

'Abdul Malik bin 'Abdil Hamid who witnessed al- Yarmuk narrates: 

We experienced light fighting on the first day because Bannes only ordered ten rows 
to attack us after 'Abdurahman 4s> had killed whom he had killed. The Muslims 
retaliated and the fighting began in earnest. Abu 'Ubaydah & was standing and 
watching and thought that even though Bannes had not yet personally attacked, 
matters were bad enough. He said, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to 
do good except through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty." Then he recited: 

Those to whom the people say, "The people have gathered 
against you, so fear them, " their faith but increases and they 



say, "Allah is sufficient for us and the best disposer of affairs. " 


The battle continued from midday until sunset. The two parties did not separate until 
night-fall. They did not recognise each other except by calling out code-words and 
each 'Arab tribe called out its tribal name. Thus each group returned to its camp. The 
Muslim women met the returning men. They wiped their hair on their husbands' 
faces saying, "Glad tidings of Jannah, O friend of Allah." The Muslims spent the 
night in a happy and good state for there were few dead from both camps on the first 
day. A handful of Romans had been killed while ten Muslims were martyred. Two 
martyrs were from Hadramawt: Mazin and Sarim; three martyrs were from 'Usfan: 
Rafi', Mujli and 'Ali; one was an Ansari: 'Abdullah bin al-Akhzam; three were of 
Bujaylah; one was of Murad tribe: Suwayd, the nephew of Qays bin Hubayrah. 

40) The women of Jannah are calling me 

Qays was troubled when his nephew went missing. Supposing him to be amongst 
those killed, he went with his tribesmen to search for him but they could not find him. 
When they intended to return they saw a fire coming from the direction of the 
Romans. They were looking for a patrician's body. Qays said to his people, 
"Extinguish your fire for by Allah I will avenge my nephew on these people." 

They extinguished their fire and sat amongst the corpses preparing for combat. 100 
highly equipped Romans eventually appeared. On the other hand, Qays had only 
seven men with him. His tribesmen said, "They are 100 while we are only seven and 
are very tired." 

"Then you can go back," retorted Qays, "I will seek death and nothing else. I will 
wage Jihad in the Path of Allah as it should be waged." 

They were astonished at his words and stayed with him as only noble people can. 

The Romans were searching the corpses and paused at the corpse of the patrician 
whom 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr had killed in the first duel. As they carried the 
corpse and turned towards their camp, Qays, followed by his men, shouted. 
Bewildered, the Romans threw down the corpse as the Muslims began working their 
swords amongst them and massacred them. Each time Qays hit he declared, "This is 
for my nephew." Qays personally killed sixteen while his men killed most of the rest 
and the survivors fled. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

That accomplished, Qays started searching for his nephew in the direction of the 
Roman camp. He heard a groan and upon approaching the source, found it to be his 
nephew, Suwayd bin Bahram al-Muradi. Upon recognising Qays he wept. 

Qays : What makes you weep, my nephew? 

Suwayd : O my uncle, I was chasing the Romans when one of them turned and 
speared me through my chest. Now I am experiencing through it something amazing. 
The virgin damsels of Jannah are standing opposite me awaiting my soul's departure. 

Qays (weeping) : Man has his set time. Perhaps there is yet time for you, my nephew. 

Suwayd : By Allah! Hasten, uncle, if you are able to then take me to the Muslim camp 
so that I may die in the Muslim camp, not here. 

Qays : Certainly. 

Qays bin Hubayrah narrates: 

I carried Suwayd on my back to the Muslim camp and made for his tent. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» heard of Qays's arrival so he went to him and saw the boy dying. 
He went to sit at his head and wept and all the Muslims wept with him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah *&> : How is your condition, my nephew? 

Suwayd : By Allah! In goodness and forgiveness. May Allah reward Muhammad S 
on our behalf well. He was true to us in what he said, "These women of Jannah are 
calling and staring at me." 

He then died. We did not sleep until we had buried him. 

When Qays informed Abu 'Ubaydah & of the Romans who had been killed that night 
he was extremely pleased and took it as an omen of victory. The Muslims spent the 
night reciting the Quran, performing Salah and making du'a for help and victory. 

41) The good character of the Romans v 

When Bannes returned to his camp the patricians, priests and monks came to him and 
presented him with food. However, the patrician's dream troubled him so much that 
he could not eat a morsel. In fact, he was ready to abandon the whole struggle and 
pay Jizyah but realised that matters were not in his hands. The princes, priests, 



patricians and monks came to him and said, "What ails the king that he does not eat? 
If it his sadness at those killed and the situation of the battle, well that is simply the 
fortune of war - one day it is against you, the next day for you. O king, they had the 
upper hand until now and we will not rule them, but will attack them and eliminate 
every one of them." 

Bonnes : You can only be victorious if you do not change your religion and tyrannise 
in the Empire. Those are the reasons why the 'Arabs have overcome you. 

Roman : I have lived years following the same religion as you. I owned 100 sheep 
which my son used to herd for me. One of your senior officials came and pitched his 
tent nearby. He looted what he wanted to of the sheep while his men took the rest. 
My wife then went to him to complain. Upon seeing her he called for her where she 
remained for a long time. Her son therefore went to the tent to find him raping his 
mother. When he screamed the patrician had him executed. I then came for my son 
and wife. He gave orders for my slaying as well but the sword struck my hand only 
thus amputating it. 

He then took out the amputated hand. Bannes blazed with fury and asked, "Do you 
recognise that patrician?" "Yes," replied the man and pointed out a patrician. Bannes 
looked at him angrily. He and the other patricians became angry in turn at this insult 
and proceeded to strike the complainant with their swords until they had killed him. 

Bannes 's anger increased and he shouted, "You are defeated. You are destroyed. By 
Christ! You hope for victory when you perpetrate such crimes? Do you not fear 
retribution tomorrow and that God will take vengeance against you and seize 
whatever good He has bestowed upon you and give it instead to others who order 
good and forbid the bad? By God! I regard you as dogs now. Very soon you will see 
the result of this and how you are going to finally end up." 

He then stood up and dismissed them. All left except a patrician who said, "O king, 
by God! These people are certainly as you describe them and I have no doubt that 
they will be defeated. I dreamt that men were coming from the sky. They were 
mounted on grey horses and were fully armed. They came and surrounded the 'Arabs 
facing us. I saw that they killed whoever of us went out against them until most of us 
had been killed." 

He went on mentioning exactly what the previous patrician had dreamt. Bannes then 
spent the entire night worrying about what to do with the Muslims. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

42) Bannes writes to Heraclius 

In the morning the Muslims adopted military formation and looked towards the 
Roman camp from where thundering and commotion was emanating. They realised 
that something was happening. Abu 'Ubaydah <$> said, "Leave them for the wrong- 
doer is always defeated." 

The four Roman generals went to Bannes to ask him permission to commence the 

Bannes : How can I fight on the side of such a tyrannical nation. If you are free men 
then go and defend your empire and women. 

Generals : We want to fight now. By Christ! We will not leave them until we have 
expelled them from Syria back to their own lands. Either they will kill us or we will 
kill them. Rely on our word, get up and come with us against them. Once you have 
decided on battle you can appoint each day one of us to lead the fight and vie with 
the others until you see who is the stronger and better warrior and who will 
humiliate the 'Arabs. We will gather all our children, wives and wealth and if we are 
victorious will return everything to its place. If they are victorious then our families 
can return to their lands. This matter between us will be settled in a day or two. 

The accursed Bannes : Give me respite until I write to Heraclius about that. 

He then wrote to Heraclius the following letter : 

O Caesar, I ask God to grant you and your army victory, to grant your 
subjects honour and victory. You despatched me with countless numbers. 
When I came to them I made offers which they refused. I offered peace which 
they rejected. I offered them a reward for withdrawing but they did not leave. 
Caesar 's army is terrified of them. I fear that cowardice has spread amongst 
them and that fear has entered their hearts. That is because of the great 
amount of oppression which exists. 

My advisors had gathered and decided upon going against them all together 
and we will not leave them until God decides between us. If God should grant 
victory to our enemy against us then the Earth runs according to His 
decision. Know that this world is to leave you sooner or later so do not 
despair at that part of it which has been lost. Do not covet for more of it to 



come into your hands. Take your family and court and move to 
Constantinople. Do good unto your subjects and God will be good unto you. 
Have mercy and mercy will be shown unto you. Be humble unto God and he 
will elevate you, for He dislikes the haughty ones. 

I had implemented a scheme to bring their general, Khdlid, to me. I tested 
and bribed him but he did not respond. I saw him to be firm on the Truth. I 
had planned to kill him, but then feared the results of treachery for these 
people have only been victorious by following justice and truth. Greetings! 

He then folded the letter and despatched it. 

Bannes remained inactive for seven days after the initial confrontation. He neither 
attacked the Muslims, nor did the Muslims attack the Romans. Abu 'Ubaydah <£» 
therefore sent a spy to investigate what was keeping the Romans back. The spy was 
absent for a day and night. Upon returning he told Abu 'Ubaydah 4b that Bannes had 
written to Heraclius and was awaiting his reply. 

Khalid 4b then said, " The only reason he is hesitating is because fear has entered his 
heart. So let us attack him." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : Do not hurry, for haste is from the Devil. 

43) A spy in the Muslim camp 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b was a soft man in battle who preferred leniency. On the other hand, 
Bannes resolved to fight on the eighth day. He saw his men's eagerness for battle and 
was pleased at their zeal. He called a Christian Lakhmi and said, "Go and spy on the 
'Arabs for me." 

The Lakhmi entered the Muslim camp and roamed about for a day and night. No 
Muslim troubled him and were all at peace. They were doing nothing besides seeing to 
their personal needs, reading Quran, performing Salah and remembering Allah. There 
was no transgression or oppression amongst them. None wronged another. He went to 
Abu 'Ubaydah's •& place and found him to be the most delicate of all 'Arabs. Sometimes 
he sat on the ground and at other times he slept thereon. At the time of Salah he would 
arise and perform wudu with the utmost care. After the athan was called out he would 
lead the Muslims in Salah. The Lakhmi saw that the Muslims prayed exactly as he did 
and so said, "This is absolute obedience. They will soon be victorious." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

He then returned to Bannes and reported to him. 

Lakhmi : O king, I have come to you from such a nation who fast during the day and 
pray at night. Were one of them to steal they would cut off his hand even if he is of 
high status and would stone him were he to commit adultery. They do not give 
preference to personal desire over Truth, Truth is always preferred. Their 
commander may be the feeblest amongst them, yet they obey him. When he stands 
they stand. When he sits they sit. Their desire is battle. Their passion is attack. Their 
intention is to die as martyrs in fighting you. The only reason they tarry in attacking 
you is so that the aggression can be from your side when you start, not theirs. 

Bannes : They will be victorious except that I now have a plan to prevent that. 

Lakhmi : What is it, O king? 

Bannes : Did you not claim that they will not attack first until we attack and become 
the aggressors? 

Lakhmi : Yes. 

Bannes : Then we will not attack them until they become neglectful. We will then 
attack them by surprise when they do not have their gear with them. Perhaps we will 

Bannes then summoned the princes and tied for them flags and crosses. The crosses 
totalled 160, beneath each were 10,000 men. He gave the first flag to Canter who was 
his equal in rank and ordered him to command the right-wing. Then he put Trajan in 
charge of the Armenians, the plainsmen, the North Europeans, the Nubians and the 
slaves. Caesar's sister's son, Theodoras, was given the Franks, Hercalaneans, 
Caesareans, the Yarfal and the Duqas. Jabalah was given a flag to command the 
vanguard consisting of the 'Arab Christians of Lakhm, Jutham, Ghassan andDabbah. 
Bannes then said, "You are 'Arabs and our enemies are 'Arabs. Iron is only cut with 
iron." He then distributed the divisional banners. 

At dawn all preparations had been completed. He then ordered his tent to be erected 
on a sand-hill at the side of the Yarmuk River, so that he could watch over both 
armies. On his right he stationed 1,000 strong, fierce horsemen who were heavily 
armed. On his left he had a similar number of aristocrats who were of the Imperial 
Court. He ordered them to be alert and then said, "What worry can be greater to the 
'Arabs than the fact that we are prepared and they are without preparation. When the 
sun rises and you see the Muslims unprepared then attack them from every direction. 
Compared to us they are but like a white spot on a black camel." 


until he reached: 


44)- Allah's secret intelligence service 

I (al-Waqidi) have heard the very aged man Iyad bin Ghalib al-Himyari narrate 
from Jawwad bin Usayd bin 'Alqamah as-Sakasiki who narrated from his 

At dawn athan was proclaimed and Abu 'Ubaydah 4& led the Muslims in Salah 
without knowing of Bannes's plot. 

In the first rak'ah he recited: 

By dawn and the ten nights, [89:1-2] 

Indeed your Rabb is waiting in ambush, [89:14] 

Suddenly an unseen voice said, "By the Rabb of Honour! You have triumphed over 
the enemy. Their plot will not help them in the least. Allah has inspired your 
commander to recite these verses as a hint to you." 

When the Muslims heard this they were astonished. He then recited in the second 

. f - , * -» 

By the sun and its light appearing, [91:1] 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

So their Rabb crushed them due to their sins and levelled 
them. He does not fear the consequences. [91:14-15] 

The unseen voice then said, "The omen is complete. The rebuke is correct. This is a 
sign of victory!" 

After Salah Abu 'Ubaydah & said, "O Muslims, did you also hear the unseen voice?" 

Muslims : Yes, we heard it. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : By Allah! That was a voice of victory and granting of hope. 
Rejoice at Allah's help and victory. By Allah! He will certainly help you and send the 
scourge of punishment down on them just as He had sent down on the ancient 
nations. O people, I had a dream last night which indicated victory against the enemy 
and help from the angels. 

Muslims : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. What did you dream? 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : I dreamt that I was standing opposite the Romans when men came 
and surrounded us. They were dressed in white robes so beautiful that I had never 
seen the like thereof before. They were so white that they glittered with light which 
dazzled the eye. They wore green turbans, carried yellow flags and rode grey horses. 
As they surrounded me they said, "Advance upon your enemies. Do not fear them for 
your victory is assured because Allah is your Helper." 

Then they called some of you and gave them to drink from cups which they had with 
them. I then saw our army penetrating into the Roman army. When they saw us they 

Muslim : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. I also saw a dream last 

Abii 'Ubaydah & : It will also be good. What did you see? May Allah have mercy on 

Muslim : We were coming out against the enemy and formed rows for battle. 
Suddenly white birds burst upon them from the sky. They had green wings and claws 
like eagles. They swooped like eagles upon them. Whoever they struck fell down 

The Muslims rejoiced at this dream and said to each other, "Rejoice, Allah has 
granted you safety and victory and has extended His help to you in the form of angels 
who will fight with you just as they did at the Battle of Badr." 



Abu 'Ubaydah 4b was also happy and said, "It is a good and true dream. Its 
interpretation is that of victory. I hope that Allah will grant victory to us and the good 
outcome of the pious." 

Another Muslim : O commander, what is stopping us from these Christian dogs. Why 
are you waiting to fight when the enemy of Allah wants to trap us through delay. 
They are only holding back in order to strike us with some calamity." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b ■' Matters are closer than you think. 

45) Men and women 

Sa'id bin Rifa'ah al-Himyari narrates: 

While we were in that state we heard shouts and screams of battle rising from every 
direction indicating that the Romans had already attacked us. Abu 'Ubaydah 4b 
thought that the Muslims must have been caught by surprise and attacked at dawn. 
He arose to go and look. Sa'id bin Zayd bin 'Amr bin Nufayl al-'Adawi 4b was on 
guard that night. He came shouting, "To arms! To arms!" until he stood in front of 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4b with a Christian 'Arab. 

Sa 'id 4b : O commander, Bannes has tricked the Muslims by tarrying from war. He 
has now mobilised his army and is launching a surprise attack while we are without 
gear or preparations. This man came to us desiring to enter Islam and to warn us. He 
says that Bannes and his patrician advisors have decided upon this strategy that on 
each day one general will attack with all his men and this is the hardest possible 
attack against us. 

The Muslims saw the flags and crosses of Rome coming. Abu 'Ubaydah 4b 
exclaimed, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through 
Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty. Where is Abu Sulayman Khalid bin al- 

Khalid 4b : I am at your service. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b '■ You are for me, Abu Sulayman. Take the best warriors and defend 
the women until such time and we can organise and get our gear. 

Khalid 4b : I willingly obey. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

He then called out, "Where are az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 4&, 'Abdurahman bin Abi 
Bakr, al-Fadl bin al-'Abbas, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4b, Rabi'ah bin 'Amir, Maysarah 
bin Masraq, Maysarah bin Qays, 'Abdullah bin Unays al-Juhani, Abu Sufyan Sakhr 
bin Harb al-Umawi, 'Ammarah ad-Dawsi, 'Abdullah bin Salam, Ghanim al- 
Ghanawi, Al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, 'Amr bin Ma'dikarab, 
'Ammar bin Yasir al-'Absi, Dirar bin al-Azwar *fe>, 'Amir bin at-Tufayl, Aban bin 
'Uthman bin 'Affan..." He continued calling different Sahabah, each of whom were 
capable of taking on an army by himself. They all came to Khalid 4& and engaged in 
combat while Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe organised the Muslims. 

Abu Sufyan 4» came to AM 'Ubaydah *&> and said, "O commander, order our women 
to go on top of that hill." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : That is correct. 

He ordered them and they complied, seeking protection up there with their children 
and babies. AM 'Ubaydah 4& said to them, "Take tent-pegs and place stones in front 
of you. Encourage the men towards fighting. If we win then well and good, but if you 
see any man fleeing then strike him in the face with the pegs and pelt him with 
stones, lift your children towards them and say, "Defend your family and the Din of 

Women : We obey and will please you. 

After seeing to the women, Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> returned to organising the men. They 
rushed into battle as soon as he had placed the right- and left-wings, the centre and 
the two sub-divisions of the vanguard. He appointed the flag-bearers, each Muhajir 
tribe had its own colour - yellow, green, white, black etc. He placed the Muhajirin & 
and Ansar ,& at the centre and the Muslims got their gear and weapons. He divided 
the Muslims into three rows, archers of Yaman, cavalry and infantry. The cavalry 
was placed under three commanders: Ghiyath bin Harmalah al-Amiri, Maslamah bin 
Sayf al-Yarbu'i and al-Qa'qa' bin 'Amr at-Tamimi. 

The Muslims stood under their flags. Abu 'Ubaydah <& also stood under his yellow 
flag which Abu Bakr ■#> had tied for him the day he had departed for Syria; it was the 
flag of Rasulullah % with which he had gone to Khaybar. Khalid * had the black 
flag of the eagle. Shurahbil 4» was given infantry, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4fe the right- 
vanguard and Qays bin Hubayrah the left-vanguard. 



46) The advice 

Once all ranks had been formed Abu 'Ubaydah 4& went amongst the men to 
encourage them. He said: 

Tjfyow /ze//? ^4//a/z 5 Z)fw i/e wz'// /?e/p yow awe? make your feet 
firm. [47:7] 

"Be patient because patience is the saviour from worry. Please Allah and restrain the 
enemy. Do not break from your ranks. Do not break your intentions. Do not take a 
single step without the remembrance of Allah. Do not initiate battle until they have 
first started. Have your spear points fixed and take cover With your shields. Maintain 
absolute silence except for the remembrance of Allah. Do not undertake any 
initiative except with my orders." 

He then returned to his station at the centre. Mu'ath bin Jabal & then went amongst 
the people, encouraging them to battle and saying, "O people of the Din, O helpers 
of Guidance and Truth, may Allah have mercy on you. Know that Allah's mercy 
cannot be attained except through action and intention. It is not achieved through 
sinning and empty hopes without pleasing actions. None enters Jannah except 
through pious deeds coupled with Allah's mercy. Allah does not shower his mercy 
and infinite forgiveness except on the patient and true ones. Have you never heard 
Allah's words as follows: 

> »^; aihrt ...J c..,\>rl l ^11 I^JL^Pj ^»Sj^4 \yu>\e <^i«Ajl 4UI JLPj 
' w' '■" '' Z ' *\*°'. ^- !* ' * o '■•>'-- 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Allah has promised those amongst you who believe and do 
good deeds that He will grant them sovereignty over the Earth 
just as He had granted sovereignty to those before them. He 
will establish that religion which He is pleased with for them 
and change their condition of fear into safety. They worship 
Me and do not ascribe any partner unto Me. Those who will 
disbelieve after that are indeed great sinners. [24:55] 

Be ashamed that Allah should see you fleeing from your enemy. You are completely 
in His grip, there is no refuge except with him." 

He continued speaking in this manner until he returned to his post. 

Suhayl bin 'Amr * then went armed and riding on his horse giving similar advice as 
Mu'ath & had given. He then returned. 

Abu Sufyan ^ then made the rounds on horseback with his sword and spear. He said, 
"O Noble 'Arabs, O great chiefs, you awoke this morning in the land of the 
Christians, cut off from family and homeland. By Allah! Nothing can save you from 
them except the thrust of the spear dead in their eyes and the strike of the sword on 
their heads. In this way you will attain your purpose and gain success from your 
Rabb. Know that Allah removes worry at the time of battle through patience. So be 
true in battle for victory comes with patience. If you are patient you will rule their 
lands and cities and enslave their children and women. If you flee, then there is only 
an endless wilderness ahead of you which cannot be traversed except with an ample 
supply of provisions and water, and where you return to has neither buildings nor 
palaces. So attack with your swords and wage Jihad in the Path of Allah as it should 
be waged." 

Do not die except as Muslims. [3:102] 

He left the men and went to the women on top of the hill. They included Muhajirat, 
the daughters of the Ansar and other Muslim women. With them were their children. 
He said to them, "Rasulullah ft has said that women are deficient in intelligence and 
Din. Nevertheless, you should be of those women who uphold their Din and resolve 
upon that; those who encourage their husbands to battle; those who will stone their 



own husbands in the face and strike their horses with tent-pegs if they should flee 
from battle. They will show their children to them until they return in shame." 

The women stood up as ready tigresses roaring out their war-poems. Abu Sufyan 4&> 
returned to his station and said, "O Muslims, you see what has come to you, 
Rasulullah S and Jannah are in front and the Devil and Hell are behind you." 

He continued until he reached his post. 

47) Convey my salam to Rasulullah & 

Thus the plot of Bannes failed. Khalid 4& and his 500 cavalry confronted the Romans 
who took fright and withdrew. That gave the Muslims ample time to form their rows 
and battalions. 

Bannes said, "What is stopping you from fighting them? Go and attack them." They 
thus returned to the attack. Khalid 4a saw the massive army coming. 

Bannes selected 30,000 of his elite warriors and had them dig ditches at the right- 
wing. They jumped in, shackled their feet with chains and tied each ten together with 
a single chain. They swore upon Jesus son of Mary, the Cross, the priests, the monks 
and the four churches not to flee until every last one of them would be killed. When 
Khalid ^> saw that, he said to the elite troops around him, "This is going to be a heavy 
day. O Allah, grant the Muslims victory." 

He then went to Abu 'Ubaydah 4» and said, "O commander, the enemy have tied 
themselves in chains and are advancing with cutting swords. This may be a heavy 
day on the Muslims." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : O Muslims, the enemy is numerous and nothing can save you 
except patience. Abu Sulayman, what is your view? 

Bannes put 100,000 such men in front who were known for their bravery, were 
famous amongst the citizens and were known for their firmness in their own lands. 
Khalid * recognised them to be great warriors. He replied, "I think that Sa'id bin 
Zayd should stay at your station and you go at the back with 200 or 300 Sahabah of 
Rasulullah &. The people will then feel ashamed to flee firstly because of shame 
before Allah and secondly because of shame before you." Abu 'Ubaydah 4& 
accepted this advice and called Sa'id «&, one of the ten who were promised Jannah. 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe> put him in charge and then chose 200 Yamani horsemen which 
included Muhajirin 4* and Ansar & and stayed in the rear in line with Sa'id *> 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Waraqah bin Muhalhil at-Tannukhi, the flag-bearer of Abu 'Ubaydah ■*> at al- 
Yarmuk narrates: 

The first to open the gates of battle at al- Yarmuk was a young, handsome Azdi boy 
who said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe, "O commander, I desire to quench my heart's thirst to 
wage Jihad against my enemy and the enemy of Islam and to sacrifice my life in the 
Path of Allah so that I can be blessed with martyrdom. Permit me to go and if you 
have any message for Rasulullah ft tell me." 

Abu 'Ubaydah * began weeping and said, "Convey my salam to Rasulullah H and 
tell him that we have found what our Rabb has promised us to be true." 

The boy then rode off to the battlefield. A Roman riding on a grey horse came to 
challenge him. The boy who had dedicated his life to the Path of Allah went to him 
and recited this poem as he neared him: 

/ will certainly pierce and cut. 

With every spear and sword that will cut. 

Perhaps I will be successful and gain this 

Jannah and high status. 

They then fought. The boy speared the Roman and brought him to the ground. He 
took all his gear and horse and gave it to one of his tribesman. He then returned to 
the battlefield. A second, third and fourth came against him but the Azdi boy killed 
them all one by one. The fifth however, martyred the boy. The tribe of Azd became 
infuriated and charged at the Romans who in turn charged like a swarm of locusts 
until they came near the Muslim right-wing. 

48) The Battle of al- Yarmuk begins in earnest 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc called out, 'The enemies of Allah have come against you. Repulse 
them. Know that Allah is with you. Be firm with patience and truth and confront the 
enemy. Victory is only from Allah!" 

He then gazed at the sky and prayed, "O Allah, you alone do we worship and from 
You alone do we seek help. We take You to be One and do not ascribe any partners 
unto You. These people are your enemies. They deny You and Your signs and ascribe 
a son unto You. O Allah, shake their feet and tremble their hearts. Send down 
calmness upon us. Make us firm in the word of piety. Save us from Your punishment. 



O You Who do not break promises, O Allah, help us against them, O You Who has 
said in His Honourable Book: 


Hold firmly onto Allah. He is your Master. What an excellent 
Master! What an excellent Helper. [22: 78] 

While he was engaged in this du'a the Romans attacked the right-wing which was 
made up of al-Azd, Mathhij, Hadramawt and Khawlan tribes. The Roman attack was 
vicious but the Muslims persevered as noble ones do. They fought back fiercely and 
remained firm. They remained firm when a second Roman battalion attacked, but 
were dislodged at the attack of the third battalion. 

'Amr bin Ma'dikarab az-Zubaydi & then rushed out. He was the chief of Zubayd 
who honoured him for the great bravery he displayed even since pre-Islamic times. 
At the Battle of al-Yarmuk he was 120 years old, but his vigour had not slackened in 
the least. Upon seeing his tribe fleeing, he called out, "O people of Zubayd! O 
people of Zubayd, you flee from the enemy and fear to drink from the goblet of 
death? Do you prefer blame and disgrace for yourself? What is this commotion of the 
Christian dogs to you? Do you not know that Allah is watching you, the Mujahidin 
and the patient ones? When He sees them being patient for the sake of His pleasure 
and then remain firm on His decision He helps them with victory and patience. How 
can you flee away from Jannah? Do you like deficiency, entry into Hell and the anger 
of the Great Compeller?" 

Upon hearing him Zubayd ran to him as a she-camel runs to her children. About 500 
horsemen and footmen gathered around him and together charged at the Romans. 
Himyar, Khawlan and Hadramawt joined them in a heavy assault which dislodged 
the Romans from their positions. 

The Daws tribe were with Abu Hurayrah &. He was waving his flag encouraging his 
tribe to fight and said, "O people, hurry towards the embrace of the virgin damsels 
of Jannah in the vicinity of the Rabb of all the worlds! There is no place more 
beloved unto Allah than this place (the battlefield). Hear me, Allah gives preference 
to the patient ones over those who have not participated in battle." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

So Daws gathered around him and launched an attack on the Romans. Combat 
ensued and rotated amongst them just as a windmill rotates. 

49) Bravery of the women 

The Romans began to gang up on the right-wing which broke up and fled like sheep 
fleeing from a lion. When the Muslim women saw the Muslim cavalry retreating they 
screamed, "O daughters of 'Arabs, get those men. Stop them from fleeing and send 
them back into battle!" 

Sa'idah bint 'Asim al-Khawlani narrates: 

I was amongst those women that day on the hill. When the right-wing fled 'Afirah 
bint Ghifar who was as brave as a man shouted, " O women of the 'Arabs, get those 
men. Carry your children to them and make them fight." 

The women began stoning the the men. Bint al-'As bin Munabbih called out, "May 
Allah disfigure that man who flees from his wife." 

The women began shouting at their husbands, "You are not our husbands if you 
cannot defend us from the Christians!" 

A1-' Abbas bin Sahl as-Sa'idi narrates: 

Khawlah bint al-Azwar, Khawlah bint Tha'labah al-Ansariyah, Ka'vib bint Malik bin 
'Asim, Salam bint Hashim, Ni'am bint Fayyad, Hind bint 'Utbah bin Rabi'ah and 
Lubna bint Jarir al-Himyariyah came leading the women with their girdles tied. They 
were carrying sticks. Khawlah recited: 

oL-^J L+J, jL-^r L_4-J 

Oyou who flees from his loyal lady 

She is beautiful and stands firmly 

Your abandoning them to disbelievers is 



to let them the forelocks and girls seize 

Disbelievers, evil, arrogant, sinful 

will take what they want from us to the full. 

The horsemen then turned back encouraging each other to fight. Those who were 
fleeing returned en masse upon hearing the women. 

Hind bin 'Utbah came carrying a stick followed by Muhajirat. She recited the same 
poem she recited at Uhud: 

.«„ * iS^— 

J »\j — . — 51 

j_Ji — . — ; \ j , \ ; t j\ 

j j- 

■* &j- 





"i U- 

\j_^J\ \ ,.,U 8 11 ^ t, 4 

J I. 




Night star s daughters are we 

Who walk on carpets soft they be. 

Our walk does friendliness tell 

Our heads are perfumed musk smell 

Pearls are strung around these necks of us. 

So come and embrace us. 

Whoever refuses will be separated forever. 

To defend his woman is there no noble lover? 

She came to the Muslim horsemen of the right-wing and called out, "Why are you 
fleeing? Do you flee from Allah and Jannah when Allah is watching you?" 
When she saw her husband Abu Sufyan 4b fleeing, she struck his horse in the face 
with a tent-peg and said, "Where do you think you are going, O Sakhr? Go back to 
battle and put great effort into it until you compensate for having incited people in 
the past against Rasulullah S." 

Az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 4fr> narrates: 

I heard Hind mentioning to Abu Sufyan 4fe about Uhud when we were with 
Rasulullah S. Her words made him turn back to the battle.The other Muslims 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

followed him. I looked at the women. They attacked with the men, in fact they 
overtook the men. They stood between the legs of the horses hitting the enemy with 
tent-pegs. I saw a woman grabbing a massive Roman who was mounted on a horse. 
She clung onto him and would not let go until she had dismounted him and killed 
him and said, "This is the manifestation of Allah's help to the Muslims." 

Az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam & narrates: 

The Muslims mounted a heavy attack, desiring nothing besides Allah's pleasure. The 
Azd fought under Abti Hurayrah 4». Death spread amongst them until a large number 
lay dead. That was because they had borne the brunt of the initial impact and 
therefore there were more martyrs from them than from others. 

50) Trajan is killed 

Sa'ld bin Zayd narrates: 

The fighting at the right-wing was intense. Sometimes the Muslims fled and then 
returned. Sometimes we persevered and sometimes we fell back. Khalid * looked at 
the right-wing whose retreat had already reached the centre. He called the 6,000 
horsemen around him and, proclaiming, "Allahu Akbar!", launched such a ferocious 
attack which caused heavy damage to the Romans. They were forced to withdraw 
from the right-wing and centre and retreat to their positions. Khalid & went to the 
front of their ranks driving off any of them close to the Muslims and thus broke their 

Khalid * saw that his men were now spread out. He thus called out, "O people of 
Islam and Faith, O bearers of the Quran, O Sahabah of Muhammad S, defeat has 
become apparent to the Romans. They have no strength or power left except that 
which you see. Allah has blunted their sharpness so attack and complete their defeat. 
May Allah have mercy on you. By Him who hold Khalid's life in His Hand! I have 
hope that Allah will put them in your hands." The Muslims responded from every 
direction, "Attack and we will attack with you." 

He unsheathed his sword and attacked, followed by his men. 

'Abdurahman bin al-Humaydt al-Jumahi narrates: 

I was amongst those who attacked with Khalid &■ By Allah! The Roman formations 
were broken and they fled like sheep flee from a lion. The Muslims then continued 



in pursuit of them. That assault was on the Roman right-wing which was 
completely smashed. As for the chained ones who were the defenders of Rome, they 
maintained their positions and shot arrows at us. 

'Abdurahman narrates: 

Khalid & led us in the attack. Our battle-cry was: "Victory to the Ummah of 
Muhammad!" Khalid & advanced continuously until we reached Trajan. He was in 
the place Bannes had stationed him in. He had with him the jewelled cross and was 
surrounded by his men waiting for him to launch the attack. 

When Khalid ^ reached him the patricians said to Trajan, "Sir, you should attack and 
we will follow you or else flee for the 'Arabs have surrounded you." 

Trajan : Today is an evil day. I do not like it. I do not even like to see it or be 
present here. The king posted me here and I just hate it! Wrap my face and head in 
this cloth so that I do not have to see the battle. 

So they wrapped his head and face in brocade. The people fought on until the 
Muslims defeated the Romans. His head and face was still wrapped in brocade. 
Dirar*^ attacked and killed him. 

51) Women to the rescue - again 

Amongst Allah's favours to the Muslims was the in-fighting between George and 
Canter. George was in command of the right-wing with the Armenians and Canter of 
the left-wing. George said to him, "Attack the 'Arabs. This is not the time to tarry." 

Canter : You order me to attack? Why do you not go yourself? 

George : Why should I not order you? I am your commander. 

Canter : You lie! You are but a general and I am in command over you. You are my 

So they squabbled. George, angry and frustrated, left and attacked the Muslims 
between the left-wing and centre. He attacked the tribes of Qays, Kinanah, 
Khath'am, Jutham, Quda'ah, 'Amilah and Ghassan. The Muslims were dislodged 
and fled except for the flag-bearers who put up tough resistance. The Romans chased 
the fleeing Muslims until they entered their camp with them. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

The Muslim women came and hit the horses of the Muslims in the face with tent- 
pegs and stones and called out, "O men of Islam, do you flee from your mothers, 
sisters, wives and daughters? Do you wish to give us to the Christians?" 

Minhal ad-Dawsi narrates: 

The women were sterner against us than the Romans were. The Muslims returned 
from their flight saying to each other, 

And they advise each other with Truth and they advise each 
other with patience. [103:3] 

They turned back and fiercely fought the Romans. Qatamah bin al- Ay sham al-Kinani 
was in the lead striking the Christians sometimes with a sword and sometimes with 
a spear until he broke three spears. All the while he was reciting: 

£SLL*JI i>^ U^ f-Kr-frtj C^' ***** f-^ 1 «/ iH"*- 

£-**U ui^t ^jlLI ^jl+JI ^J <M$-^ -rr-»- & Jj— J tf~*}j 

I will attack the dogs of Rome who are barking, 

With my metal 's edge I will be striking. 

To please the giver of hope, Allah 's Messenger, 

Prophet of Guidance for this Din the best advisor. 

He attacked until he broke two swords. Each time he broke a sword or spear he would 
call out, "Who will lend me a sword or spear in the Path of Allah and his reward will 
be from Allah?" 

He then called out, "O tribe of Qays, grab your share of reward and patience. For 
patience in this world is honour, and leads to mercy and status in the next world." 



Be patient, help one another in patience and defend each other. 
And fear Allah so that you may be successful. [3:200] 

His people responded and were energised for battle. 

Qatamah bin al-Aysham narrates: 

I had never experienced an attack like that of Canter and his men before. They 
attacked until our two armies became completely intermingled. 

(This would indicate that Canter must have attacked after George - translator's 

Khalid 4$> returned from his raid with 2,000 men. They had killed so many Romans 
but it had had no effect due to their great number. He found the people saying, "May 
Allah reward Qatamah bin al-Aysham well on behalf of Islam." So he went and 
thanked him too. 

52) Martyrdom of 'Amir bin at-Tufayl & 

Thar'ah bint al-Harith came down from the hill, saying, "What did Khalid do?" until 
she came in front of him. 

Thar 'ah : Ibn al-Walid, you are of the noble 'Arabs. Men follow their leaders. If the 
leaders are firm then so are they with them. If the leaders flee, so do they. 

Khalid 4fr : I never fled! We continuously fought them. 

Thar'ah accepted his explanation, "Then may Allah disfigure the face of he who sees 
his commander steadfast and yet he flees." 

Bannes, may Allah's curse be on him, looked at his right-wing which was in a 
stagnant state. He sent a messenger to encourage them. Thereupon a Roman wearing 
complete armour emerged on a giant grey horse. The Roman came as if he were a 
mountain between the two forces and issued a challenge. When an Azdi responded 
he was martyred in a single round of combat. The Roman issued another challenge 
which Mu'ath bin Jabal 4» wanted to take up, but Abu 'Ubaydah •&> forbade him 
saying, "Keep your place and maintain the flag for that is preferable to me than your 
dueling him." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Mu'ath & therefore kept his place and called out, "O Muslims, whoever wants a 
horse to go and fight in the Path of Allah may take my horse and weapons." His son, 
'Abdurahman, came and said, "O father, me!" This pre-adolescent boy put on the 
weapons and mounted the horse and then said, "Father, I am going to that Christian. 
If I am patient and attain victory then that is Allah's favour. If I am killed then I greet 
you now already and ask you if you have any message for RasulullahU?" 

Mu 'dth 4& '■ My son, convey my salam to him and say, "May Allah reward you well 
on behalf of the Ummah." My son, go! May Allah guide you towards that which He 

Ibn Mu'ath went and attacked the Roman who struck him on the head, cutting 
through his turban and breaking through until blood flowed. The Roman thought that 
the boy was almost dead and went back to see how he would fall from his horse. Ibn 
Mu'ath used the opportunity to return to the Muslims. 

Mu 'dth A : My son, what has happened to you? 

Ibn Mu 'dth : The disbeliever has killed me. 

Mu 'dth 4fe> : What do you want of this world, my son? 

He then bandaged his head. At that moment the Roman arrogantly came to attack, but 
the Azd repulsed him. 

Abii 'Ubaydah 4& : Which of you will go to him? 

'Amir bin at-Tufayl ad-Dawsi ^ volunteered. He was one of KMlid's 4& flag- 
bearers at the Battle of Yamamah. There he had dreamt that a woman came to him 
and exposed herself. He entered her and when his son saw that he also wanted to 
follow, but at the moment 'Amir awoke. He narrated the dream to the Muslims, none 
of whom could interpret it. Amir then said, "I know its interpretation." 

"What is it, Ibn at-Tufayl?" they asked him. 

'Amir 4s> : It means that I will be killed. The woman whom I entered represents the 
Earth. My son will then be wounded and soon join me. 

He fought at Yamamah but did not suffer anything and returned safely. 

Now at al- Yarmuk he went out to fight the Roman as if he were a blazing fire or 
striking lightning. He thrust his spear, which he had used in many battles, against the 
Romans. When it broke he unsheathed his sword, brandished it and struck the Roman 



on the shoulder right down to the intestines. He fell off his horse and died. 'Amir 4& 
raced back with the Roman horse and handed it to his son. He then returned to attack 
different groups of Romans. 

He then targeted the Christian 'Arabs. He killed one horseman and issued a challenge 
for a duel. Jabalah himself responded. He was resplendent in brocade decorated with 
gold. Beneath that he wore armour of the ancient Tubba' and wore a helmet which 
glittered like the sun. Riding his horse which was descended from the horses of 
ancient 'Ad, he called out to 'Amir &, "From which tribe are you?" 

'Amir <#> : Daws. 

Jabalah : Then you are a relative. Save yourself and return. Give up false hopes. 

'Amir 4& : I have identified myself to you, so now you tell me what kind of an 'Arab 
you are. 

Jabalah : I am of Ghassan. I am chief of all of them. I am Jabalah bin al-Ayham al- 
Ghassani. I came out to you when I saw you coming. You had killed that strong 
patrician who was the equal to Bannes and George in bravery. I recognised you to be 
my equal and came to kill you and enjoy the favour of Bannes and Heraclius for 
killing you. 

'Amir 4fc : You mention these people's strength, but Allah is stronger than them and 
destroys the tyrants. You want to enjoy the favour of created beings like yourself for 
killing me, but I want to enjoy the favour of the Rabb of all the worlds for killing 

He then attacked but his blow was harmless. Jabalah however struck him on the head 
right down to his shoulder. 'Amir <& fell down martyred. Jabalah swelled with pride 
and challenged the Muslims to duel him. 

53) Martyrdom of Jundub bin 'Amir 

The martyr's son, Jundub bin 'Amir, went to Abu 'Ubaydah & carrying his father's 
flag and said, "O commander, my father has been killed. I want to either avenge him 
or be killed myself. So give his flag to whom you will from amongst the Daws." 

Abu 'Ubaydah & handed the flag to a Dawsi and Jundub departed to kill Jabalah, 
reciting this poem: 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

/ will spend my life and soul, 

Desiring the forgiveness of the Rabb of all. 

I will with my sword strike the enemy, 

Killing every despicable personality. 

Eternity in Paradise is a reality 
Permissible for every man of bravery. 

He then reached Jabalah. 

Jundub : Stay, O murderer of my father, so that I can kill you. 

Jabalah : You are really related to him? 

Jundub : I am most certainly his son. 

Jabalah : Why do you people just kill yourselves, your children and sacred lives? 

Jundub : To be slain in the Path of Allah is praiseworthy according to Allah and a 
means of elevation of status. 

Jabalah : I do not want to kill you. 

Jundub : How can I return when I am stricken by the loss of my father? By Allah! I 
shall not return until I have either avenged him or meet him. 

He then attacked Jabalah. The two then dueled with everyone watching. Jabalah 
realised that Jundub was a great warrior and became more cautious. The Ghassan 
were cheering their chief on but then realised that Jundub was overpowering him. 
They therefore said to each other, "This boy who has come out against your chief is 
of high birth. If you leave him alone he will overcome Jabalah. So let us help him." 
They therefore got ready to help Jabalah. The Muslims were pleased at Jundub's 
valiant display. Abu 'Ubaydah -^ watched and wept. He said, "This is a person who 
sacrifices his life in the Path of Allah. O Allah, accept his action." 



Jabir bin 'Abdillah & narrates: 

I participated in the Battle of al-Yarmuk and did not see a boy braver than Jundub bin 
'Amir bin at-Tufayl when he was fighting Jabalah. He struck Jabalah a blow which 
weakened him, but Jabalah struck back and killed him and Allah sped his soul to 
Jannah. Thus his father's dream became a reality. 

Jabalah stayed at his place of combat and challenged the Muslims. His people called 
out, "Return to us. You have fulfilled your duty." He returned, proud of himself, until 
he came under his cross. Bannes sent a message congratulating him. 

54) The Battle-cries and numbers of Muslims 

The Muslims were greatly distressed at the loss of 'Amir & and Jundub. Daws called 
out, "Jannah, Jannah, avenge your chief, 'Amir!" Their allies, al-Azd, came to their 
assistance and together they attacked Ghassan, Lakhm and Jutham, reciting poems. 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4b called out, "O people," He then recited, 

^j p-^=HJ o* A£** Jl l^j^j 

Hasten to your Rabb 's forgiveness and Paradise... [3:133] 

He then continued, "...and the embrace of the virgin damsels in gardens of pleasure. 
There is no place more beloved to Allah than this (battlefield). Hear me, Allah grants 
preference to those who have partaken in battle over those who have not." 

Upon hearing this al-Azd together with the Daws attacked. Their battle-cry that day 
was, "Jannah, Jannah!" 

Musa bin Muhammad narrates from 'AtS bin MurSd: 

I asked many people as to the different battle-cries of the Muslims at al-Yarmuk. I 
was told as follows: 

1) Abu 'Ubaydah 4b Make them die! Make them die! 

2) 'Abs tribe Come help O 'Abs! 

3) Yaman O helpers of Allah! 

4) Khalid 4* and his men O party of Allah! 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

5) Himyar Victory! Victory! 

6) Darim & Sakasik tribes Patience! Patience! 

7) Banu Murad O help of Allah, come down! 

These were the battle-cries. When Daws followed by al-Azd attacked the Christian 
'Arabs they targeted the cross; they scattered the Christians and reached it. A Muslim 
speared the Ghassani who was carrying the cross, both of which fell down from the 
horse. The dead of al-Azd and Daws were but like a white spot on a black camel. 
Ghassan returned to retrieve their cross. Intense fighting broke out and many were 

Hisham bin 'Ammarah narrated to me from Abu al-Jariri who narrates from 
Nafi' who narrates from Jubayr bin al-Huwayrith who narrates from 'Abdullah 
bin 'Adi: 

I participated at al- Yarmuk and the Muslims numbered 25,000. 

Al-Huwayrith became angry at this report and said, "Whoever narrated this has lied! 
The Muslims were 41,000. I have narrated what I have heard from reliable 

This last report is most correct because there were 32,000 Muslims at Ajnadayn and 
reinforcements arrived after that. 

Ibn Abt Namirah narrates from 'Abdul HamTd bin Sahl who narrates from his 

When al-Azd and Daws attacked the Christians at al- Yarmuk the Christians counter- 
attacked and dislodged the Muslims. The Muslim flag-bearer, Tyad bin Ghanam al- 
Ash'ari, fled with the flag in his hand. They shouted at him, "An army only stays firm 
if the flag-bearer stays firm." 

Khalid 4i> and 'Amr bin al-As 4b raced to take the flag off him. 'Amr 4b snatched it 
and fought until the Romans were defeated and Allah granted the Muslims victory. 

55) Another day of battle 

The third day was the worst. The Muslims lost and fled three times. Each time it was 
the women who had to stall them by showering them with stones and striking them 



with tent-pegs and by showing them their children. They returned and fought until 
the night when the Romans returned to their camp. The Romans suffered heavy 
losses, the Muslims had few dead but arrows wounded many of them. Both parties 
returned to their camps, spending the night fully-armed. 

The Muslim's first priority was Salah, only then did they bandage the wounded. After 
Abu 'Ubaydah ,& performed his salah, he called out, "O people, when things are 
difficult then await relief from Allah. Light your fires and be on guard. Keep 
reciting, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" " 

He and Khalid & then inspected the wounded saying, "O people, your enemies are 
in pain just as you are in pain, but you have hope from Allah, which they do not 

The two continued going round to the Muslims until morning. 

Bannes withdrew the Romans to the banks of al-Yarmuk. He gathered all the 
patricians, severely rebuked them and said, "I just knew that this would come from 
you. I saw how weak-hearted, cowardly and terrified you are of these weak 'Arabs!" 
They offered excuses and said, "Tomorrow we will fight them. There are still many 
fresh soldiers who have not yet fought. Tomorrow we will show them and be 
victorious." Bannes stopped scolding them and ordered them to begin their 
preparations. Thus both parties spent the night on guard against each other. The 
difference was that the Romans were afraid because of their heavy losses while the 
Muslims hearts were even firmer due to their faith and steadfastness. 

In the morning Abu 'Ubaydah & led the Muslims in Salatul Khawf. Suddenly 
crosses and flags as numerous as trees and thorns appeared. It seemed as if they were 
fresh troops who had not been afflicted with battle yet. Bannes had his throne placed 
on the same sandhill which he was on the previous day and swiftly drew his men into 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> saw the sudden speed of the Romans, he ordered every 
commander to get his men ready for battle. After Salah the Muslims rushed to put on 
their weapons and mounted their horses. Each commander took up his position and 
began advising his men and mentioning the help of Allah. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <$> went between the ranks describing to the Muslims the great virtues 
of Jihad and what Allah has kept in store for the patient Mujahidin. He put 'Amr bin 
Sa'id bin ' Abdillah in charge of the children, women and goods and appointed 500 
archers each at the right-wing, left-wing and centre. He went amongst them and said, 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

"O archers, keep firmly to your positions. If you see the enemy attacking us then 
shower them with arrows taking the name of Allah. Do not fire sporadically but as if 
every arrow was fired from a single bow. If they should charge at you, maintain your 
position until further orders from me." 

They complied with what they had been ordered to do. 

Abu Sufyan & went to his son, Yazid &. Yazid's * men surrounded their 
commander who was holding the flag and had resolved on attacking the enemy and 
waging Jihad. 

Abu Sufyan & : My son, if you do good Allah will be good to you. Fear Allah as He 
should be feared. Help the Din of Allah and the laws of his Prophet II. Beware of 
being afraid because what our Rabb decrees He implements. Be patient with your 
men - patience of the highest degree. Beware, I repeat beware of deserting for then 
Allah's wrath will afflict you. 

Yazid ^ : I will persevere to the limits of my ability. I ask Allah to help me. 

56) Bravery of az-Zubayr & 

Yazid & then waved the flag and called his men to battle. They attacked the nearest 
Roman force and remained in combat until they caused them major damage. This 
attack emanated from the centre and continued until a patrician came with a 
massive spear in hand. He wore a gold cross and led a force of about 10,000 
cavalry. This cavalry attacked the right-wing which was under 'Amr bin al-'As. 
Some Muslims fled and the Romans managed to enter the first ranks around 'Amr 
4f>. Those around 'Arm* 4t> fought back. Sometimes they gained the upper hand and 
at times fell back. 

The Romans amassed against the Muslims and pushed them back until they pressed 
them right against the hill upon which the women were stationed. They then 
proceeded to surround the hill. 

A woman called out, "Where are the helpers of the Din? Where are the defenders of 
the Muslims?" 

Az-Zubayr bin al-' Awwam 4t> was sitting with his wife, Asma bint Abi Bakr, having 
his inflamed eyes treated. Upon hearing a woman shout, "Where are the helpers of 



the Din?" he asked, "O Asma, why is that woman shouting, 'Where are the helpers 
of the Din?'" 

Asmd : She is 'Afirah bint 'Uthman. O son of Rasulullah's H aunt, the Muslim right- 
wing has been defeated. The Romans have forced them to take refuge here by us and 
have surrounded us. The Ansar's women are calling for the helpers of the Din. 

Az-Zubayr 4fe : By Allah! I am a helper of the Din. Allah will not see me sitting at a 
time like this. 

Then he flung the patch off his eye and mounted his horse. He took with him his 
spear which bore the same name as himself and attacked calling out, "I am Az- 
Zubayr bin al-'Awwam 4&. I am the son of the aunt of Rasulullah S!" 

He began to incessantly spear the Romans until they turned and fled. 

Layth bin Jabir narrates: 

Allah be praised for az-Zubayr &. He single-handedly routed the Romans. He 
attacked them with not a single 'Arab at his side until they fled to their camp and 
'Amr and his men returned. 'Amr called out, "Return, Return! Be firm, Be firm! O 
people of Islam! Patience,Patience!" So they returned after having fled. 

George the Armenian, together with 30,000 Armenians, attacked Shurahbil bin 
Hasanah 4&, the scribe of Rasulullah S, and dislodged the Sahabah & from their 
position. Only Shurahbil <&> himself and less than 500 of his men remained firm. He 
attacked the Armenians calling out, "O people of Islam, do not flee from death. 
Patience, Patience!" His men came rushing back and attacked the Armenians so 
fiercely that they fled, suffering far more than they had afflicted on the Muslims. 

Shurahbil 4» returned to his position, surrounded by his men. He rebuked them for 
their behaviour in battle, saying, "What befell you that you fled from these 
disbelievers whereas you are the defenders of the Din, you are the pious, the people 
of the Quran and the slaves of the Most Merciful. Have you not heard the words of 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Whoever turns away from the enemy on the day of battle, 

except for a war - strategy or to retreat to his troops, has 

drawn the wrath of Allah upon him and his abode is Hell - 

what an evil destination that is! [8:16] 

Allah also says, 

CSJ^>\ 4JJI o] 

Allah has bought the lives and wealth of theBelievers in return 
for Paradise. [9:111] 

Yet you fled?" 

Muslims : O Sahabi of Rasulullah S, the Devil made us slip just as he did at Uhud 
and Hunayn. Here we are now before you. So take us and attack. 

Shurahbil *&> thanked them and positioned them adjoining the force of Sa'id bin Zayd 
& to facilitate better defence. 

57) The giant 

When Qays bin Hubayrah saw Shurahbil's 4^> men returning he led his men in an 
attack. They called out their battle-cry: 

"O help of Allah come down! O victorious one make them die! " 

Khalid & attacked from the right while Qays attacked from the left, and they fought 
most fiercely. Praise be to Allah for az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam &, Hashim bin al- 
Mirqal and Khalid <$>. They attacked so viciously that they neared the tents of 
Bannes. Bannes jumped off his throne out of fright and shouted at his men and 
rebuked them. They returned to fight. 

Abu 'Ubaydah &> called out to Sa'id bin Zayd & who then attacked with his men. He 



"There is no deity besides Allah! O victorious one make them die!" 

They advanced to spread death amongst the Romans. 

While the Muslims were attacking they heard someone call out, 

"O help of Allah descend! O help of Allah be near! O people, 
steadfastness! Steadfastness! " 

'Amir bin Aslam says, "We investigated and found it to be Abu Sufyan & who was 
with his son, Yazid &. They stood under Abu Sufyan 's flag." 

The generals all fought a vicious battle against whoever was closest to them. The 
most steadfast of all the Romans were the chained-ones who warded off whoever 
came near to them. Their archers numbered 100,000. When they fired arrows at the 
'Arabs they would cover the sun. Were it not for Allah's help the Muslims would 
have been utterly destroyed. The Muslims on their part were joyous while most of 
the Romans perished. 

A Christian came forward whose calves resembled that of the trunks of palm-trees. 
He wore gold armour and a golden helmet on top of which was a gold cross, studded 
with jewels. Mounted on a grey horse, he wore iron chain-mail and carried a spear. 
He roamed about and challenged the Muslims to duel him. The Muslims could but 
stare at his massive, frightening appearance. 

Abu 'Ubaydah «fe> said, "His appearance should not frighten you for how many 
massively-built men have you seen who have no heart? Who will go against him? 
You should all seek Allah's help against him." 

A slave went out on foot carrying a sword and shield. He was about to approach him 
when his master, Thul Kala' al-Himyari & shouted at him to return. Thul Kala'4», 
who was a great warrior then went out himself. 

The two faced each other, aiming their spears at each other. Each stabbed his 
opponent causing an injury which burned hotter than coals. They then withdrew their 
swords and began clashing. Each managed to strike the other once. However, the 
Roman's sword was sharp and his arm strong, so he had cut right through Thul 
Kala"s 4fr shield, sword, armour and clothing until he penetrated and deeply 
wounded Thul Kala's 4& left upper arm and his hand dropped heavily. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Thul Kala'* turned back to the Muslims and managed to evade the Roman. His 
tribesmen came to him to find blood gushing out of his wound. He said, "O 
horsemen of Himyar, beware of relying on your weapons to save you in battle. Rather 
rely on Allah Most Honourable and Majestic in your battle." 

Himyaris : How is that, O chief? 

Thul Kald ' 4b : I returned my slave out of pity for him because he had no armour and 
I said to myself, "I am a greater warrior than the slave and am better equipped and 
armoured," but now you can see what the uncircumcised Christian did to me. By 
Allah! I have not experienced anything similar in previous battles. O men of Himyar, 
your chief has returned exhausted, who is there amongst you to avenge him? 

A Himyari horseman, wearing such Yamani made and styled clothing which made 
him resemble embers, went and persistently attacked the Roman. In a heavy round 
of combat he managed to spear him through the chest and bring him to the ground, 
dead. Thus Allah sped his soul to Hell. 

The Himayri wanted to dismount to retrieve the booty, but a large group of Romans 
came to prevent him. He turned them back in disgrace and got the booty. He went to 
give it to Abu 'Ubaydah <& who awarded it back to him. The Himayri gave it to his 
tribesmen and returned to his post. There a second Roman came to attack him, but he 
killed him and similarly a third. However, the fourth assailant martyred him. As the 
fourth Roman dismounted to seize the Himayri's spoils, an Ansari archer shot him in 
the throat and Allah sped his soul to Hell. 

The Romans were thrown into confusion and terror at the loss of the fourth Roman 
for he was the governor of Nablus and one of their great men. Bannes calmed them 

58) The prince of Lan 

Marius, prince of Lan, came and announced himself. He wore the upper-body armour 
of royalty, brocade and a jewel-studded belt. He declared, "I am the prince of Lan. 
None but your commander is worthy of fighting me." 

Shurahbil 4> came riding out, flag in hand. He wore iron armour and a leather belt. 
Abu 'Ubaydah * asked, "Who went?" 

"Shurahbil bin Hasanah," they replied. 



So he sent a messenger to him, "Give the flag to whoever you like, but fight 
without the flag." 

He gave the flag to one of his tribesmen and said, "Stay at my post with it. If he 
overcomes me then give it to the commander, Abu 'Ubaydah &,, so that he can give 
it to whom he likes. If I return I will take it from you." The man took the flag while 
Shurahbil & left reciting: 

j|JL_>- OJlJ >.a-3 „ X.. * J-£—> li^U^I ^ fljdJ! ^ J-«^-t- 

/ will attack the enemy 's despicable offspring 

with pliant iron good for rectifying. 

Woe to Caesar on that day which is at hand 

When we will come and make the Romans fugitives in the land. 

Marius did not understand because he knew only a little 'Arabic. 

Metritis : O 'Arab, what are you saying? 

Shurahbil & : I am reciting words which the 'Arabs recite at the time of battle to 
strengthen their hearts and bring conviction on Allah's promise to our Prophet 0. 

Marius : What did He promise your Prophet? 

Shurahbil &> : Allah promised us that He will conquer the length and breadth of the 
land for us. We will rule Syria. We will triumph through His aid. 

Marius : God does not help the rebels. You have rebelled against us seeking that 
which you are not entitled to. 

Shurahbil & : We are a nation commanded by Allah to do this. The Earth belongs to 
Allah. He grants it to whomsoever He desires to from amongst His slaves. The good 
result is always in favour of those who fear Him. I see that you know some 'Arabic. 
Were you to abandon the worship of the cross and enter Islam you would be of the 
inhabitants of Paradise and most fortunate. 

Marius : I will not leave the religion of Christ for it is the true religion. 


Part 3: Al - Yartnuk 

Shurahbil 4& : Do not say that he is a god or that he was crucified and killed. Allah, 
Most Pure and High, kept him alive on Earth for as long as it pleased Him and then 
raised him to the Heavens. 

Marius : I will never retract! 

He then took a cross out from his neck, raised it, placed it on his eye, kissed it and 
sought its blessings for help. This made Shurahbil 4& angry. 

Shurahbil 4*> '■ Woe unto you! Destruction unto you, to those who are with you and 
to those who say as you say. 

He then attacked and a heavy battle ensued between the two with Muslims making 
du'a for Shurahbil &. He realised that the Christian was extremely strong, so he 
turned back, pretending to flee. The enemy chased him and when he came near 
Shurahbil 4b> suddenly pulled the reins, spun around and attempted to spear him in 
the throat. The enemy dodged the spear and escaped unharmed and then called out, 
"O 'Arabs, you never leave trickery and scheming." 

Shurahbil *#•> : Woe unto you! Do you not know that war is scheming and trickery is 
its very essence? 

Marius : As if your trick helped you in any way. 

They then fought until both of their swords broke and they began wrestling. The 
Christian was heavily built while Shurahbil 4a was quite thin due to constant fasting 
and praying Salah at night so when the Christian squeezed him he suffered much 
pain. The prince intended killing him there and then in his saddle. Both sides watched 
this spectacle. 

Dirar £> narrates: 

We became very angry and I said to myself, "Woe unto you, O Dirar. That disbeliever 
is killing the scribe of the revelation of Rasulullah ft while you stand and watch. 
What prevents you from helping him?" 

Dirar * went running to them like a hungry deer leaping and reached them with 
neither of them aware of his presence. He stabbed the Christian from behind 
penetrating his heart and so the enemy fell down dead, releasing Shurahbil 4» from 
his grip. After he fell off his horse, Shurahbil & dismounted to take his upper-body 
armour, while Dirar * mounted the dead man's horse. 



The two returned to the Muslim camp where the Muslims congratulated Shurahbil 4b 
and thanked Dirar 4b. The two then argued over the upper-body armour. 

Dirar 4b : It is mine because I killed him. 

Shurahbil 4* '■ But I took it first. 

They took their dispute to Abu 'Ubaydah 4$> who feared to choose between the two, 
and so both were displeased. He therefore wrote to 'Umar &> without naming the 

"A man went to duel a Christian and made great effort. Another Muslim came to help 
him and killed the Christian. So which of the two gets the spoils? " 

'Umar & wrote back, "The spoils are for the killer. " 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b then took the spoils from Shurahbil 4b and gave then to Dirar 4b 

That is Allah 's favour. He gives it to whom He wills. [5:54] 

59) The day of losing one eye 

The Romans were furious at the slaying of the prince of Lan. A brave horseman came 
to challenge the Muslims to fight. Az-Zubayr 4&> accepted his challenge and killed 
him. A second, third and fourth came. He killed each in turn and took their spoils. 
Khalid & then said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b, "Az-Zubayr has stripped the Romans clean 
and spends his life for Allah and His Rasul II. I fear that he is exhausted." 

So Abu 'Ubaydah <$> called out to him to return upon oath and he then returned.The 
king of the North Europeans then came to fight. Khalid &> killed the king who was 
married to the daughter of the prince of Lan. His spoils, crown, belt, armour and 
cross were valued at 15,000 (dirham or dinar are not stated - translator's note). 

When Bannes was informed he became angry and exclaimed, "Two of our leaders 
killed in a single day. I do not think that Christ is helping us." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

He then ordered the archers to fire simultaneously. They thus fired 100,000 arrows at 
the Muslims at the same time. The arrows fell down on the Muslims like hail falling 
down from the sky. The Muslims were severely wounded of which 700 lost one eye 
each. That day was therefore called the 'Day of Losing One Eye'. 

Amongst those who lost an eye on that day were al-Mughirah bin Shu'bah, Sa'id bin 
Zayd bin ' Amr bin Nufayl at-Tamimi, Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb .$> and Rashid bin 
Sa'id. Afterwards if anyone asked one of the one-eyed ones, "What afflicted your 
eye?" he would reply, "Do not call it an affliction, but it is a test from Allah." 

The arrows fell heavily on the Muslims until nothing could be heard save screams of 
"O my eye, my eye!" and they were thrown into heavy confusion. They thus grabbed 
their reins and returned. 

The accursed Bannes saw the confusion amongst the Muslims and thus encouraged 
the archers. He then called out to the infantry. The chained ones then attacked, which 
resulted in frightening the already confused Muslims. George, Canter and Theodoras 
also came out to attack. 

Bannes called out, "Be firm in your attack and shoot the 'Arabs with your arrows." 
The archers increased their shower of arrows and the chained ones came with their 
weapons in their hands flashing like lightning. They filled the field with war. The 
Muslims felt self-pity at the loss of their eyes and began to flee. 

'Abbad bin 'Amir narrates: 

I saw the army of Polytheism advancing and the Muslims retreating. I said, "There 
is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through Allah, the Most 
High, the Most Mighty. O Allah, send down Your help which You sent down to us in 
all the other places." 

I then called out to the Himyar, "Do you flee from Jannah towards Hell? What is this 
fleeing? Do you not feel shame? Are you not in front of Allah? Is He not the Knower 
of secrets but you flee from the Disbelievers?" 

By Allah! Not a single one of them replied. It was as if they had all gone deaf and 
could not hear. I said, "It is as if your tribe was born deaf and started to call out to 
the other tribes. All were too busy to reply so I repeatedly recited, "There is no 
ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through Allah, the Most High, 
the Most Mighty." 



In a short while, Allah's help came. This was when the Muslims fled to the hill and 
none remained firm except for the flag-bearers. 

60) Once again...women to the rescue 

'Abdullah bin Qurt 4t narrates: 

I witnessed all the battles but never saw anything as bad as the 'Day of Losing One 
Eye.' The horsemen retreated leaving the commanders to fight all by themselves, 
holding the flags in their hands. Abu 'Ubaydah 4&, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4&>, 'Amr 
bin al-'As, al-Musayyib bin Najiyah al-Fazari, 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr and al- 
Fadl bin al-' Abbas were left fighting fiercely. 

I said to myself, "How long can these men keep on fighting for when they are so 

Eventually those women who participated in the battles of Rasulullah S joined us in 
treating the wounded and giving water to drink and even joining the fight. I never 
saw the women of the Quraysh fighting with Rasulullah or with Khalid 4s> at al- 
Yamamah as much as they now fought at al-Yarmuk. When the attack came upon 
them and the Romans became intermingled with the Muslims, they all came out 
striking with swords. 

The Muhajirat became mixed with other tribes. The battle heated up and the women 
called out their tribal names, mother's names and their own titles. They fought, 
prepared to die. They hit the horses of the Muslims in the face with tent-pegs and 
showed them their children. 

Some of them were fighting the enemy while others stopped the Muslims until they 
returned to fight the Disbelievers. Still others treated the wounded whilst others gave 
the men to drink. 

The Romans charged at the women. The women of Lakhm, Jutham and Khawlan 
fled. Khawlah bint al-Azwar, Umm Hakim bint al-Harith and Salama bint Luayy hit 
them on their faces and on their heads saying, "Yes, flee. Your presence only makes 
us weak!" 

The women therefore returned to fight, prepared to die. Umm Hakim bint al-Harith 
stood in front of the horses with a sword in her hand. We could not hear any woman 
on that day clearer than her exhorting the Muslims, "O 'Arabs, mow their 
uncircumcised skins with swords!" 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

As for Asma bint Abi Bakr, she tied her reins to the reins of her husband, az-Zubayr 
bin al-'Awwam &. Whenever he struck she would equal him. 

The men returned to battle upon seeing the women fighting like that and said to each 
other, "If we do not fight then we are more entitled to sit in the women's quarters than 
the women!" 

Praise be to Allah at the way the Quraysh women fought at al- Yarmuk. 

'Abdurahman bin al-Fadl narrates from Yazid bin Abi Sufyan & who narrates 
from Makhul: 

The Battle of al- Yarmuk was fought in Rajab 15 Hijri. 

Abu 'Amir narrates: 

A disbeliever attacked us when Khawlah bint al-Azwar came and attacked him with 
a sword. He struck her forehead with his sword resulting in blood flowing and 
Khawlah fell to the ground. 'Afirah bint 'Affan screamed when she saw this and 
called out, "By Allah! Dirar faces grief from his sister" and struck the Roman so hard 
with her sword that his head flew off and landed some distance away. 

She took Khawlah 's head into her lap. Khawlah 's hair was soaked in blood. 

'Afirah : How are you? 

Khawlah : If Allah Most High wills then I will be fine but I am sure that I will die 
now. Can you get my brother, Dirar, to come to me? 

'Afirah : O daughter of al-Azwar, I have not seen him. 

Khawlah : O Allah, make me the ransom for my brother's life and do not cause Islam 
grief on account of him. 

'Afirah narrates: 

Khawlah tried to get up but was unable to, so we carried her to her place. That same 
night I saw her running around giving the men to drink. It was if she had never 
experienced any pain. Her brother looked at her and saw her wounds still visible. 

Dirar *&> : What happened to you? 



Khawlah : A Christian hit me and 'Afirah killed him. 

Dirdr &> : My sister, glad tidings of Jannah for I avenged your wound over and over 
again. I killed many of them. 

61) Najm bin Mafrah and his eloquence 

The battle started early that day and intensified as night neared. Abu 'Ubaydah 4* 
fought upholding his flag and the other commanders followed his example until 
darkness separated the two parties. On the Day of Losing One Eye no less than 
40,000 Romans were killed. It is reported from Khalid 4» that nine swords broke in 
his hand that day. 

A participant of al-Yarmuk narrates that Khalid 4& killed 100 men. 

Hazim bin Ma'n narrates: 

In the middle of the battle, Polytheists came riding out on grey and pie-bald horses 
as huge as mountains. They wore silk, brocade and protective armour. With a 
jewelled cross raised in their midst they attacked all at once, penetrating to the 
centre. Then their right-wing attacked our left-wing and their left-wing attacked our 
right-wing. The Muslims fell back to the women who began striking their own faces 
and wailing, "For Allah's sake, for Allah's sake! Do not bring grief to Islam by 
fleeing. Fear your Rabb." 

Najm bin Mafrah was with Abu 'Ubaydah &. He was one of the orators of the era, 
the most eloquent of all 'Arabs, the most brave-hearted of them and was loud-voiced 
and extremely handsome. The eloquent ones and 'Arabs would seek him out to hear 
his speech and verse. 

'Abdul Malik bin Muhammad narrates from his father who narrates from 
Hassan bin Ka'b who narrates from 'Abdul Wahid who narrates from 'Awf who 
narrates from Musa bin 'Imran al-Yashkuri who narrates from Nasr bin 

The boy, Najm bin Mafrah of the Banu Muharib tribe, turned certain defeat into a 
victory for Islam. He never spoke except in rhymed words which he constructed in 
an excellent manner. We memorised his verses at the Battle of al-Yarmuk. I have 
been informed that the latter scholars of eloquence and fluency such as al-Asam'i and 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Abu 'Ubaydah, the linguist, would imitate his excellent speech. Amongst his 
exhortions to the Muslims at al- Yarmuk was this one at the time of their defeat: "This 
is the decisive day, there is no day thereafter. You all are witnessing it closely. Jannah 
is only earned by being patient upon that which is disliked. By Allah! He who 
dislikes Jihad will never attain it. 

Allah has a Jannah as large as the skies 
But it is surrounded by that from which everyone shies. 

The highest rank is the rank of martyrdom, so please the Knower of the invisible and 
visible. Hypocrisy is doing slow business in its markets so that hypocrisy is now 
hidden within hypocrisy. You are the SaMbah of the Prophet of this era yet you are 
unfirm and despondent of victory. Gladden the soul of al-Mustafa (the Chosen 
Prophet S) with your steadfastness and be resolute in your pure intentions. Beware 
of fleeing for then the fire of Hell and the anger of the Great Compelling King will 
become compulsory upon you. I swear by Him who decreed all things and rotates the 
sky on its rotation and by Whom everything is set, the virgin damsels of Jannah have 
decorated themselves for you. In their hands are jugs and cups of spring water. 
Whoever desires the Everlasting Abode will take lightly whatever he suffers here. 
Attack and you will attain your desires. Spear their chests and you will get the 
women of Jannah. Fix your spear-points and Jannah is yours. Be patient and you will 
be rewarded. Gladden the Muslims through your good deeds. Beware of losing the 
straight path for you will then join the disbelievers in Hell. Avoid what thay say and 
agree with what your predecessors did. Listen to what has been revealed in the Quran 
because of them: 

^J» ( yX^Jj ^gJlS^ ^-_jiJi\ <Ja£>szZ,\ \ + *- => JpfiS (J 



Allah has promised those of you who believe and perform 

righteous deeds that He will grant them sovereignty over the 

Earth just as He granted it to those before them. He will 

establish for them their Din with which He is pleased for them. 

He will change their condition of fear into safety. They 

worship Me and do not ascribe any partners unto Me. Those 

who disbelieve after that are indeed great sinners. [24:55] 

Hurry! The devoted ones have overtaken. Strive! The strivers have attained success. 
-43U3 j^ 4JJI \yu\ I^Ll; oiJd! t£& 

O you who believe fear Allah as He should be feared and do 
not die except as Muslims. [3:102] 

62) The hair of Rasulullah ft 

Khalid &, wearing his red turban, attacked the Romans and scared them by 
shouting out his name, "I am Khalid bin al-Walid." 

Nestor, a patrician, dressed in brocade came shouting and growling at him. He was 
busy fighting so he was unaware of what Nestor was saying. When he finally heard 
him babbling in Greek he attacked him. The two began a violent struggle. Suddenly 
Khalid's * horse stumbled and fell with him falling on his head. 

The Muslims called out, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good 
except through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty." 

Khalid & called out, "Alive! I am alive!" 

Nestor then jumped on his back. His qalansuwah had fallen off, so he called out, "My 
qalansuwah! May Allah have mercy on you." One of his Makhzumi tribesmen rushed 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

and gave it to him. Later he was asked, "You were in such a state of combat, yet you 
were still worried about your qalansuwah?" 

Khdlid &> : When Rasulullah ® shaved his head at his farewell pilgrimage, I took 
some of his hair. "What are you going to do with it?" he asked me. "O Rasulullah," 
I replied, "I will seek blesings through it and acquire help through it in fighting my 

The Prophet S then said, "You will remain victorious for as long as it remains with 

I therefore put the hairs in the front of my qalansuwah and have never confronted an 
army except that I have triumphed through the blessings of Rasulullah S.He tied the 
qalansuwah with his red turban and attacked Nestor. He struck his shoulder with his 
sword with such force that it emerged from the other side. Thereafter the remaining 
patricians were afraid to come and fight. He called them but none responded. 

Khalid 4& went after them, striking them until he reached the point of exhaustion. Al- 
Harith bin Hisham al-Makhzumi felt sorry for him and said to Abu 'Ubaydah <&, "O 
commander, Khalid <&> has fulfilled his duty and given the sword its due. Why do you 
not order him to rest?" So Abu 'Ubaydah 4& walked to him firmly resolved that he 
should not go any further and ordered him to rest. 

Khdlid 4b '■ O commander, I seek martyrdom in every possible way. If I miss it then 
at least Allah knows my intention. 

He then attacked and did not stop until the job was completed. The Muslims, led by 
the women, joined him, returning after having fled. The battle continued between the 
two parties until the Romans fled, thousands of them having been slain. 

The chained ones were slashed to pieces. The horses crushed them with their hooves. 
The battle lasted until sunset at which point the two parties separated. Rivers of their 
blood had flowed and the Earth was carpeted with corpses and the wounded of both 
parties, although Roman losses were by far heavier. So both sides returned to recoup 
them and tend to their wounds. The women prepared food, bound the wounds and 
applied medicine. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* did not ask anyone to go on night-watch duty as everyone was 
tired. He therefore went out himself with a group of volunteers. While patrolling he 
came across two horsemen who were also patrolling. Each time he said, "La ilaha 
illallah," they responded, "Muhammad Rasulullah #!" 



He found them to be az-Zubayr & and his wife Asma and made salam to them. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : cousin of Rasulullah S, why are you two out here? 

Az-Zubayr <& : We are guarding the Muslims because Asma said to me, "O cousin of 
Rasulullah ®, the Muslims were busy the whole day in Jihad and are therefore too 
tired to go on night-watch. Will you help me to go on night-duty?" so I accepted her 
request. Abu 'Ubaydah 4* thanked them and requested them to return, but they 
refused to and patrolled until morning. 

63) Drowning of the Roman army 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4jt narrates from S_afwan bin 'Amr bin 'Abdirahman bin 

Abu al-Ja'id was one of the leaders of Hims. When the Romans gathered to go to al- 
Yarmuk they entered Hims and then descended upon a town called az-Zura'ah. Abu 
al-Ja'id had migrated from Hims to az-Zura'ah because of its pleasant climate and 
water. When the Romans came he was celebrating his first night with his new bride. 
He went out of his way to entertain them. He fed them and gave them wine to drink. 

After the feast they said to him, "Give us your bride." 

He refused and swore at them while they insisted on getting her. After he denounced 
them, they went and forcibly took her and violated her for the rest of the night. Abu 
al-Ja'id wept and cursed them so they killed his son from a previous wife. 

The mother took the child's head, wrapped it in her scarf and took it to their 
commander. She flung the head at him and complained, "Look what your men have 
done to my son. I demand my rights." 

When he ignored her she said, "By God! The 'Arabs will triumph over you," and 
returned cursing them. In a short while the Muslims had destroyed them. 

After Nestor was killed at al-Yarmuk, Abu al-Ja'id arrived at the Muslim camp and 
said to Khalid <$>, "This is such a massive army you are facing that even if they 
voluntarily gave themselves to you to be killed it would still take a long time. What 
will you give me if I trick them so that you triumph this very night?" 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Khdlid 4* : We will give you many rewards and exception from Jizyah for you, your 
household and descendants for all eternity. We will give you a document to this 

After obtaining his guarantees, Abu al-Ja'id went to the Romans who did not know 
of his pact. He led them to the side of a huge valley filled with water and said to them, 
"The 'Arabs frequent this place. I will deceive them for you and destoy them. 
Remain here and do not move." 

In that way he managed to put the an-Naqusah Creek between the Romans and 
'Arabs, but the Romans did not realise just how deep it was. After the 'Day of Losing 
One Eye', Abu al-Ja'Td realised that the 'Arabs would win. He therefore went to Abu 
'Ubaydah 4» whom he found on night-patrol with a group of Muhajirin &. 

Abu al-Ja 'id : Why are you just sitting here? 

Muslims : What should we do? 

Abu al-Ja'id : Tomorrow night you should light many fires. 

He then returned to the Romans to implement his plan. The following night the 
Muslims lit more than 10,000 fires. Abu al-Ja'id arrived and they said to him, "We 
lit the fires as you requested. What is next? 

Abu al-Ja'id : I want 500 of your best warriors to show them my plan. 

Amongst the 500 chosen were Dirar 4b, Tyad, Rafi', 'Abdullah bin Yasir, 'Abdullah 
bin Aws, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr, Ghanim bin 'Abdillah 
and other such chiefs. He then took them on an untravelled path towards the Romans. 
As they neared the Romans he showed them a path which only he knew of and said, 
"Fight them then withdraw. I will then deal with them." 

The Muslims went and shouted. They attacked and then withdrew to the path as 
instructed. Abu al-Ja'id then shouted out loud, "O Romans, come and get the fleeing 
Muslims. They have all come here and lit their fires intending to do battle." 

The Romans rushed out thinking it to be true. Some came riding bareback while 
others came on foot. They came chasing the Muslims with Abu al-Ja'id guiding 
them. When they reached the an-Naqusah creek he said, "You will have to cross this 
path to reach them." 



They all rushed in and fell like locusts. So many of them drowned that their numbers 
cannot even be imagined. The 'Arabs then named it an-Naqusah (the decreaser) 
because it had decreased the Romans. 

The rest of the Romans did not know what had happened until morning. They saw 
the Muslims in their own camp, yet it seemed that they had attacked and severely 
decreased their numbers. They asked, "Who was screaming last night?" 

Someone replied, "That man whose wife you raped and child you killed. He has now 
got his revenge." 

64) George is killed 

When Bannes found out, he became certain of his destruction and the 'Arabs' 
victory. He sent for Theodoras and said, "What do you think I should do? The 'Arabs 
have overcome us and if they but attack us once, none of us will escape. So will you 
go and ask them to delay the battle so that we can devise some strategy to save us?" 
"We should do that," replied Theodoras. 

Bannes called a Lakhmi to convey this message to the Muslims, "The fortunes of war 
change and the world will perish. You have been treacherous towards us. Do not 
wrong us for wrong only leads to defeat. Delay fighting today, tomorrow a final 
solution can be reached." 

The Lakhmi conveyed the message to Abu 'Ubaydah &>. He wanted to accept but 
Khalid 4» stopped him, saying, "O commander, do not accept for they have no hope 

Thereupon Abu 'Ubaydah <& said to Lakhmi, "Go back to your master and tell him 
that we will not delay the battle. We are in a hurry to speed things up." 

The Lakhmi returned to inform Bannes who was furious and threw a tantrum. He 
said, "I was hoping the 'Arabs would accept peace. Now there remains no option but 
for me to fight them personally. This I swear by the cross. 

He then called the Romans, Caesar's courtiers and all those who were reliable and 
ordered them to get their gear. 

Bannes led the vanguard himself with a cross in front of him and found the Muslims 
already in battle-array. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& had ordered them immediately after Salatul 
Fajr to hastily get to their battle-stations. Today they were certain of victory over the 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

enemy. Abu 'Ubaydah 4* arranged the flag-bearers and stayed with Khalid 4s> and 
other famous horsemen. 

At sunrise, George, one of the enemy generals challenged the Muslims, "None but 
the commander of the 'Arabs may duel me." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t> heard and gave Khalid •&> the flag, saying, "You are most entitled 
to the flag. If I return then I will take it back, otherwise keep it until 'Umar reaches 
a decision." 

Khalid 4£ : I will fight him, not you. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <£ : No, he seeks me so I should go. You will be my partner in reward. 

He went out despite the protests of the Muslims. They went and begged him not to 
go but he insisted and so they let him go. 

When George saw him he asked, "Are you the commander of the army?" 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* : I am he. I have accepted your challenge so beware of the 
battlefield. I will defeat you and kill Bannes after killing you. 

George : The nation of the cross will overcome you. 

George then attacked. The duel was a protracted one. Khalid 4& and all the Muslims 
stood watching and making du'a for Abu 'Ubaydah's 4& safety and victory. 
Eventually George fled to his right-wing while Abu 'Ubaydah 4* came chasing him. 

George spun around and struck like lightning at Abu 'Ubaydah 4& who struck back. 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4*> was faster and cut him from one shoulder to the other. 

He was followed by the Muslims who proclaimed, "Allahu Akbar!" He was amazed 
at George's huge bulk and did not take anything of the spoils. Khalid 4fe called out, 
"Allah be praised for the commander. You have fulfilled your duty, so return to your 
flag now." Abu 'Ubaydah 4* refused to return. When the Muslims implored him 
under oath he returned and took the flag from Khalid's 4& hand. 

65) Sergius seeks revenge 

Bannes looked at George's corpse and was extremely upset since George was one of 
the pillars of the Roman effort. He thought of leaving but then said to himself, "What 
excuse can I offer to Heraclius? I will have to fight. If I am killed I will be saved from 



blame and if I return safely I will be in a better position with Gaesar than fleeing to 

He then announced to his men that he intended going for personal combat. He got all 
his gear and ornamentations and resembled a mountain of glittering gold. He then 
gathered all the patricians, priests and monks and said to them, "Caesar understood 
this situation better than you. He wanted peace but you opposed him. Now I will have 
to personally fight them." 

A courtier who was very religious stepped forward. He would greatly honour the 
priests and churches and obeyed all the precepts of the Bible. As a relative of George, 
he was extremely upset at his killing. He said, "I swear by the Cross! I will fight the 
Muslims. I will either join George or avenge him and kill his murderer. To take up 
the sacred cause has become obligatory upon me. I have to fulfil my duty to Christ 
and go to fight." 

Bannes permitted this courtier, Sergius, to avenge George's death. He wore iron- 
plated armour. He carried his sword with him and the priest came to burn the incense 
of the church around him, praying for his victory. A monk of Amorium approached 
him and gave him his cross which he wore around his neck and said, " This cross is 
from the days of Christ. The monks inherit it from each other and rub it for blessings. 
It will help you." 

Sergius took the cross and called out in 'Arabic, "Duel!" so that the Muslims thought 
it was a Christian 'Arab. Dirar 4& went forth like a blazing fire. When he saw 
Sergius 's huge bulk he regretted taking such gear which weighed him down and said 
to himself, "What use will this clothing be to me if my death comes?" and returned. 

The people thought that he had fled out of fright. Someone said, "Dirar 4fc flees from 
the Christian when he has not even struck him." 

Dirar & went straight to his tent without speaking to anyone. He stripped off his 
clothing except for his trousers. He took his bow, sword and shield and hastened back 
to the battlefield only to find that Malik an-Nakha'i & had beat him to the patrician. 

Malik & was such a tall man that whenever he mounted his horse his legs would 
reach the ground. Dirar * watched as he called out, "Come forward, O enemy of 
Allah, O worshipper of the cross, come to a man of high birth who helps the beloved 
Muhammad S." 

Sergius was so terrified that he could not answer. Malik 4b went and attacked 
seeking to spear him but could not find a good target due to his all-protecting iron. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

Malik & then thrust his spear through the horse's haunch until it came out through 
the other side. He wanted to remove it from the kicking horse but it was embedded 
in the horse's ribs and could not be removed. The horse fell with Sergius still on it, 
chained to his saddle. 

Dirar & rushed at Sergius and struck his head with his sword, splitting his head into 
two and then took the booty. 

Malik 4fe : What is this, Dirar 4&? Since when did you become my partner in my prey? 

Dirdr ^>: I am not your partner, the spoils are mine alone. 

Malik 4& : But I killed his horse. 

Dirdr 4» : Sometimes he who sits eats, not he who runs. 

Malik 4a (smiling) : Take your prey. Allah bless you in it. 

Dirdr <$> : No, you take it. I was only joking. By Allah! I will not take a thing. You 
are more entitled to it. 

He then stripped the spoils off Sergius and carried them on his shoulders. It was so 
heavy that he could barely walk and perspired profusely. 

Zuhayr bin 'Abid narrates: 

I saw him walking and carrying the spoils while Malik was on horseback. He went 
until he deposited it all in Malik's tent. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& then said, "May my parents 
be sacrificed for you! These are such people who sacrifice their lives for Allah and 
desire nothing of this world." 

66) Bannes comes out to fight 

The killing of Sergius clipped Bannes's wing. He gathered his men and said, "Hear, 
O men of Caesar, convey to others what I am about to say. I have expended every 
effort in defending this religion, Caesar and his bounties. However, I can never hope 
to overcome the Lord of Heaven. He has helped the 'Arabs against us and given them 
our lands. I cannot show my face again to Caesar except if I now fight in the place 
of cutting and thrusting. I have decided to give one of you the cross while I go to fight 
the Muslims. If I am killed then I am free of shame and Caesar's blame. If I am 
blessed with victory then Caesar will know that I was not deficient in his defence." 



Romans : O king, do not go until we do. If we are killed then you can do as you 

Bannes then swore by the Four Churches that none would fight before him so they 
stopped arguing. He called his son and gave him the cross, saying, "Stay in my 
place." He then put on his gear which was brought to him. 

(Four Churches probably refers to the ancient four centres of Christianity in the East 
i.e. Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch and Constantinople — translator's note). 

Bannes's gear was valued at 60,000 dinar for it was completely encrusted in jewels. 
A monk appeared before him and said, "O king, I do not see dueling as an option for 
you. I do not like it." 

Bannes : Why is that? 

Monk : I saw a dream... rather return and send someone else. 

Bannes : I will not. I prefer fighting to shame. 

So they burnt incense for him and bade him farewell. He departed like a flashing 
mountain of gold. He paused between the two parties, challenging the Muslims and 
threatening them by calling out his name. 

The first to recognise him was Khalid •* who said, "That is Bannes. The 
commander of the enemy has come out. By Allah! Things are not going well for 
them." While Bannes was still threatening them, a boy of the Aws tribe went to him 
and said, "By Allah! I am longing for Jannah." 

Bannes attacked him with a golden spear that he kept under his thigh and martyred 
him. Allah then sped his soul to Jannah. 

Abu Hurayrah 4fe narrates: 

I saw the boy after he fell. He was pointing with his fingers to the sky, not at all 
concerned at what had befallen him. I perceived that that was because of the women 
of Jannah he was seeing. 

Bannes pranced about in his place, becoming more bold and issuing challenges. The 
Muslims came rushing to him, all calling out, "O Allah, let his death be at my hand." 
The first to reach him was Malik an-Nakha'i al-Ashtar who said, "O you 
uncircumcised Christian, do not be proud of killing our man because he was desirous 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

of meeting his Rabb. Every single one of us desires Paradise. If you wish to be our 
neighbour in Paradise then declare your embracing of Islam. Otherwise you will have 
to pay Jizyah, or failing that also, you will certainly be destroyed." 

Bannes : You are my enemy, Khalid bin al-Walid? 

Malik <&> : No, I am Malik an-Nakha'i, a Sahabi of Rasulullah S. 

Bannes : War is the only option. 

Bannes who was a great warrior then attacked Malik 4h with his spear. He hit him 
right through his helmet which pressed against his forehead, shattering his eye- 
sockets. Hence he was nicknamed, 'al-Ashtar', the shattered one. 

Malik &> wanted to flee but then stood firm and sought Allah's help. Blood was 
flowing from his forehead and Allah's enemy thought that he was about to die and 
waited for him to fall off his horse. Suddenly Malik 4& attacked him and the Muslims 
called out, "O Malik, seek Allah's help. He will help you against your opponent." 

Malik 4t narrates: 

I implored Allah's help, conveyed salutations upon Rasulullah ® and struck him such 
a heavy blow wherein there was no weakness. This made me realise that the time of 
death is fixed as a fortress is fixed. Bannes felt the blow and fled to his camp. 

67) The great victory 

When Bannes fled Khalid 4z called out, "O people of victory and war, attack them 
while they are confused." 

He and his men attacked. Every commander then charged with his men, all reciting, 
"La ilaha illallah wallahu Akbar!" 

The Romans displayed great patience but lost nerve at sunset. They fled, followed by 
the Muslims who captured or killed as they pleased. About 100,000 Romans were 
killed, a similar amount were captured and a similar amount drowned in an-Naqusah 
Creek. Innumerable numbers of them fled to the mountains and valleys. The Muslims 
pursued them, killing and capturing them until night set in. Abu 'Ubaydah 4*> then 
called out, "Leave them until morning." 

The Muslims returned with booty and tents, gold or silver utensils, rugs, pillows and 
velvet-like carpets. Abu 'Ubaydah <$> appointed some men to gather the booty. The 



Muslims spent the night rejoicing until morning. They then found no trace of the 
Romans, most of them having drowned in the creek. 

'Amir bin Yasir narrates from Nawfal bin 'Adi who narrates from Jabir bin 
Nasr who narrates from Hamid bin Majid: 

Abu 'Ubaydah & tried to have the Romans counted but the sheer magnitude 
overwhelmed him. He then ordered reeds to be cut from the valley and placed on 
each corpse {numbered? - translator's note) and found the dead to be 105,000 and 
the prisoners 40,000. This was excluding those drowned in the creek. 4,000 Muslims 
were martyred. 

He also found several heads in the Yarmuk River and it could not be determined 
whether they were Roman or 'Arab. He then prayed Salatul Janazah over the martyrs. 

The Muslims went to the mountains and valleys to capture the fugitives. They met a 
shepherd and asked him, "Did any Romans pass through here?" 

"Yes," he replied, "A patrician passed by me with about 40,000 men." 

That was none other than Bannes. Khalid 4g> took his elite squad and went in pursuit 
of them. He caught up with them in Damascus. When he saw them he called out, 

The Muslims called out, "Allahu Akbar!" and attacked, killing a mass of them. 

Bannes got off his horse in order to disguise himself to be safe. However, a Muslim 
came and killed him. It was either an-Nu'man bin Jahlah al-Azdi or 'Asim bin 
Khawwal al-Yarbu'i. 

The people of Damascus came out to meet Khalid & and said to him, "We remain 
upon the treaty which we agreed upon." 

Khalid 4& '■ Yes, so you do. 

He then went in pursuit of the Romans, killing them wherever he found them until 
he reached the Pass of the Eagle where he remained for a day. He then advanced 
towards Hims. Upon being informed of this, Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> and his men went to 
meet up with him. The other commanders were spread out in all directions hunting 
down the fugitives. 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

68) Glad-tidings 

The Muslims eventually gathered and returned to Damascus. There Abu'Ubaydah & 
gathered the booty and extracted the state's one-fifth share. He wrote the following 
letter to 'Umar * to inform him of the victory: 

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful and 
may His salutations be on His Chosen Prophet, His selected 

From : Abu 'Ubaydah 'Amir bin al-Jarrdh. 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity. I thank Him 
for His bounties and that He specially chose us for the blessings 
of the Prophet of mercy and Intercessor of the Ummah. 

Know, O Commander of the Believers, that I came to al-Yarmuk 
and Bonnes, leader of the Roman army camped close to us. The 
Muslims had never seen a bigger army. Allah reduced them and 
helped us against them through His special favour. We killed 
about 105,000 of them and captured 40,000. Allah granted 
4,000 Muslims the gift of martyrdom. I also found severed heads 
whom I did not recognise but I still prayed Saldtul Jandzah for 
them and buried them. 'Asim bin Khawwdl killed Bannes at 

Before the final encounter a man from amongst them, Abu al- 
Ja 'id from Hims, tricked them and flung many Romans into the 
Ndqusah Creek, causing them all to drown. None can estimate 
the amount except Allah. 

As for the fugitives killed in the mountains and valleys I 
counted them to be more than 1,000. We have possession of their 
wealth, horses, forts and lands. 



We have written this letter after the victory and after having 
entered Damascus. Saldm, Allah s mercy and His blessings be 
upon you and all the Muslims. 

He folded and sealed the letter and called Huthayfah bin al-Yaman <&. He handed him 
the letter and told ten Muhajirin and Ansar to join him. He said to them, "Take this 
letter of victory and glad-tidings to the Commander of the Believers. Your reward is 
Allah's responsibility." The eleven left in the same hour and travelled day and night 
until they reached al-Madinah. 

'Abdullah bin 'Awf al-M alik! narrates from his father: 

On the night Allah defeated the Romans at al-Yarmuk, 'Umar 4» saw Rasulullah S 
in a dream. He was sitting in his tomb with Abu Bakr 4s>. 'Umar <& made salam and 
said, "O Rasulullah 0, verily my heart is preoccupied with worry for the Muslims 
and what Allah will do to them. I have heard that the Romans number 1 ,060,000. 

Rasulullah S : Glad-tidings 'Umar, Allah has granted the Muslims victory and 
defeated their enemy and killed so many. 

^ij i^jui s>'fi jiijTiiL 

That is the Abode of the Hereafter which we made for those 
who neither desire highness on Earth nor corruption. [28:83] 

In the morning 'Umar & led the Muslims in Salatul Fajr and then informed them of 
his dream. They rejoiced because they knew that the Devil could not take the form 
of Rasulullah S. 

When the letter arrived it was found to correspond exactly to what had been revealed 
in the dream, including the date. 'Umar 4e fell down prostrate out of thanks and the 
Muslims raised cries of, "La ilaha illallah!" and "Allahu Akbar!" and conveyed 
salutations on Rasulullah ®. He then asked, "O Huthayfah, did Abu 'Ubaydah divide 
the booty?" 

"O Commander of the Believers," he replied, "He is awaiting your instructions." 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

'Umar 4$> called for an ink-pot and paper and wrote: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : Allah 's slave, 'Umar bin al-Khattdb. 

To : His governor over Syria. 

Saldm 'Alayka 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and I 
convey salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. 

I am delighted at the victory Allah granted to the Muslims and 
the defeat of Rome. When my letter reaches you divide the booty 
amongst the Muslims but give preference to the early Muslims. 
Give each one his due right. Protect the Muslims and thank them 
for their actions and patience. Stay where you are until further 

Peace and Allah s mercy and blessings be upon you and all the 

He folded the letter and gave it to Huthayfah 4&. 

69) Disputes over the booty 

Huthayfah & reached Abu 'Ubaydah <& at Damascus. He made salam to him and all 
the Muslims and gave him the letter. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& divided the booty. Each 
horseman got 24,000 Mithqal of gold (105 kg) and the footmen got 8,000 (35 kg). 
The same amount was given in silver. He gave the owner of an 'Arab horse two 
shares and of a Turkish horse one. The owners of Turkish horses complained, "Join 
us with the 'Arab horses." 

Abu 'Ubaydah •& replied, "I divided the booty in the same manner as Rasulullah ® 
divided amongst the Sahabah." 

They did not accept his word and so he wrote to 'Umar &. 'Umar & replied, 



"You have implemented the Sunnah of Rasululldh £&. Do not change your 
decision. Give the horseman of an 'Arab horse two shares and the low-grade 
horse one share. Rasululldh 31 distinguished between them at Khaybar in 
that manner. " 

When the letter reached Abu 'Ubaydah 4b he read it out to the Muslims, and said, "I 
had not intended to degrade anyone amongst them, but was simply following the 
Sunnah of Rasulullah 0." 

After the division of booty, Khalid 4b said, "A man who owns a low-grade horse has 
sought my intercession to be granted a double share like the 'Arab horses." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b refused and said, "By Allah! I would rather sink in sand than do 

'Uthman narrates from Ibn az-Zubayr: 

I saw my father, az-Zubayr bin al-Awwam 4b, in the Battle of al-Yarmuk with two 
horses which he took turns in riding to battle. Abu 'Ubaydah 4b gave him three 
shares, a share for himself and two for the horse. So az-Zubayr 4b said, "Will you not 
treat me as Rasulullah H treated me at Khaybar? He gave me five shares, one for me 
and four for my two horses." 

Al-Miqddd bin 'Amr 4b: We were both at Badr and both had two horses each so 
Rasulullah H gave two shares for two horses in both cases. (Al-Miqddd al-Kindi 4b is 
called both Ibn al-Aswad and Ibn 'Amr - translator 's note). 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : O Miqdad, you speak the truth. I am following the deed of 
Rasulullah S in what I gave az-Zubayr. 

Jabir bin 'Abdillah al-Ansari 4b then came and testified that Rasulullah S had given 
az-Zubayr & five shares at Khaybar. Thereupon horsemen came who owned four or 
five 'Arab horses and said, "Grant us the extra shares like az-Zubayr." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& then wrote to 'Umar •$> who replied, 

" Az-Zubayr^ speaks the truth. Rasululldh SB gave him five shares especially 
at Khaybar. Do not give anyone besides him these extra shares. " 


Part 3: Al - Yarmuk 

'Urwa narrates from Abu az-Zubayr: 

Az-Zubayr *#&> had received a slave-boy from the booty of 'Amman who ran away 
from him. Before the booty of al- Yarmuk was distributed he recognised him amongst 
the captives and took him. The trustee of the booty proclaimed, "I will not leave him 
to you." 

While they argued, Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc arrived and asked, "What is wrong with you 

Az-Zubayr 4fe : O commander, this is my slave who I got from the booty of 'Amman. 
He ran away from me and now I have found him so I am most entitled to him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : The cousin of Rasulullah & speaks the truth. I myself gave him 
to him from the booty of 'Amman. 

He then gave the slave to az-Zubayr 4» who took him. 

Zayd al-Muradi narrates: 

A slave-girl of ours ran away to the enemy and we caught her at al- Yarmuk. We 
claimed her from Abu 'Ubaydah <& who wrote to 'Umar &. He replied, 

"If she was caught from enemy lands, they may keep her, if not she is part of 
the general booty. " 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&, ordered her to be with the general booty which angered the 
people. He said to them, "By Allah besides Whom there is no other deity! This is the 
letter of 'Umar bin al-Khattab. He ruled as I had now ordered for you." 

They accepted this and handed her over. 

Luayy bin ' Abd Rabbihi narrates from Salim the freed-slave of Huthayfah bin 
al-Yaman who narrates from al-Qasit bin Salamah bin 'Adi bin 'Asim who 
narrates from the narrators of the conquest of Syria: 

When Allah defeated the Romans at al- Yarmuk at the hands of the Sahabah & of 
Rasulullah S the news reached Heraclius of the defeat and killing of Bannes and 
George. He then said, "I knew it would reach this point" and then awaited the 
Muslims' next move. 




<BaytuC Muqaddas 

Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 


1 . March on Baytul Muqaddas (Jerusalem) 

2. The siege of Baytul Muqaddas 

3. The patriarch of Baytul Muqaddas 

4. The battle 

5. Negotiations 

6. Abu 'Ubaydah writes to 'Umar 4& 

7. 'Ali's 4s» recommendation 

8. 'Umar &> sets out for Baytul Muqaddas 

9. Meeting Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> 

10. Meeting Bilal * 

1 1 . The world tries to seduce 'Umar 4& 

12. 'Umar <&> arrives at Baytul Muqaddas 

1 3 . Conquest of Baytul Muqaddas 

1 4 . The Rabbi 's prophecy 

15. Ka'b the Rabbi embraces Islam 

16. The author repeats his reason for compiling the book 

17. Yazid 4& reaches Caesarea 

1 8 . The brothers of Aleppo 

19. The ambush 

20. The delegation from Aleppo 

2 1 . Terms of surrender 

22. Allah saves the Muslims 

23. Yuqanna's revenge 



24. I die as a Muslim 

25. Attack on the fort 

26. The night raid 

27. The second raid 

28. Khalid's <«&> revenge 

29. The spy 

30. 'Umar's <#> complaint 

3 1 . Yamani reinforcements 

32. The black giant 

33. Damis's bravery 

34. Damis's dream 

35. Damis's plan 

36. Damis's prisoners 

37. The Muslims enter the fort 

38. The fort is captured 

39. Yuqanna's conversion 

40. Yuqanna's dream 

4 1 . Yuqanna 's questions 

42. The next destination 


Part 4 

Baytul Muqaddas 

1) March on Baytul Muqaddas (Jerusalem) 

After the Muslim armies had been in Damascus for a month, Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> 
summoned all the generals and said, "Advise me as to what I should do and where I 
should turn my attention to." 

It was decided between either Caesarea or Baytul Muqaddas. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : So which of the two should it be? 

Generals : You are the trusted one. Wherever you go we will follow. 

Mu 'dth bin Jabal <$> : Write to 'Umar bin al-Khattab, the Commander of the Believers. 
Go wherever he tells you to and seek Allah's help. 

Abii 'Ubaydah 4fe : O Mu'ath, your view is sound. 

So he wrote to him to inform him that he had resolved upon going either to Caesarea or 
Baytul Muqaddas and asked which of the two he should invade. 'Umar <$> read the 
letter out to the Muslims and asked for their views. 

'Ali 4fc : O Commander of the Believers, order your man to go to Baytul Muqaddas 
to besiege her and fight her people. This is the best option. Thereafter, if Allah Most 
High wills, He will conquer Caesarea. This is what Rasulullah told me. 

'Umar <&> : You have spoken the truth, Abu al-Hasan. 

He then wrote the following letter: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful 

From : Allah 's slave, 'Umar bin al-Khattab 

To : His governor over Syria, Abii 'Ubaydah 



I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and convey 
salutations upon His Prophet. 

I have received your letter which asks as to which direction you 
should advance in. The cousin ofRasululldh S recommends that 
you march on Baytul Muqaddas for Allah, Most Pure and High 
will conquer her through you. 

Was-Saldm 'alayka. 

He folded the letter and handed it for delivery to 'Arfajah. 

The messenger met Abu 'Ubaydah <&> at al-Jabiyah where he gave him the letter. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4k read it out to the Muslims who rejoiced at going to Baytul Muqaddas. 
He called Khalid 4&, gave him a flag and sent him with 5,000 elite cavalry to Baytul 
Muqaddas. He then ordered Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4s to meet Khalid <& at Baytul 
Muqaddas with another 5,000. He said, "O Ibn Abi Sufyan, I only know you to be a 
well-wisher. When you reach Ayla {Roman name for Baytul Muqaddas - translator s 
note) raise your voices with, "La ilaha illallah," and "Allahu Akbar". Ask Allah, 
through the intercession of His Prophet S as well as the other prophets and pious 
people who dwelt in Baytul Muqaddas, to make her conquest easy for the Muslims." 

Yazid <&> took the flag and went. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& then summoned Shurahbil bin Hasanah 4fr and gave him 5,000 
Yamani horsemen, saying, "Take these men to Baytul Muqaddas but when you reach 
there do not mix your troops with the other armies who arrived there before you." 

Then he called al-Mirqal bin Hashim bin 'Utbah bin Abi Waqqas. He sent him behind 
Shurahbil 4&> with 5,000 horsemen of mixed tribes and said, "Camp at the fort of 
Baytul Muqaddas and remain separated from the other Muslim armies." 

The fifth flag was for al-Musayyib bin Najiyah with 5,000 cavalry from Nakha' and 
other tribes. The sixth flag was for Qays bin Hubayrah with 5,000 cavalry and the 
seventh for 'Urwah bin Muhalhil bin Zayd al-Khayl with 5,000 cavalry. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& thus sent a total of 35,000 men to Baytul Muqaddas. Each day a 
different one of the seven generals departed for the city. This was to terrify Allah's 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

The first to arrive was Khalid 4*>- He and his men raised cries of "Allahu Akbar! 
Allahu Akbar!" to such an extent that the people became alarmed and their hearts 
shook. They climbed up the city walls and upon seeing his small force, thought that 
it was the entire army and considered it quite petty. Khalid <&> camped at the Jericho 

On the second day, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan <&> arrived; Shurahbil bin Hasanah 4& on 
the third; al-Mirqal on the fourth; al-Musayyib bin Najiyah on the fifth; Qays bin 
Hubayrah on the sixth and 'Urwah bin Muhalhil, who camped near the ar-Ramlah 
roads, arrived on the seventh day. 

'Abdullah bin 'Amir bin Rabi'ah al-Ghatfani narrates: 

Every Muslim who arrived at Baytul Muqaddas proclaimed, "Allahu Akbar!" and 
performed Salah for as long as Allah desired him to. He would then beseech Allah 
for victory against the enemies. 

In other reports Yazid & was sent first while Abu 'Ubaydah «&, Khalid «&>, the 
remainder of the army, the women, the children, the animals and all the booty Allah 
had granted to the Muslims remained at their place. 

2) The siege of Baytul Muqaddas 

For three days not so much as a duel took place. The enemy neither sent an envoy 
nor spoke to the Muslims in any way. Instead, they heavily fortified their walls with 
catapults, swords, shields and assorted weaponry. 

Al-Musayyib bin Najiyah al-Fazari narrates: 

We had not come to any city in all of Syria which was more highly decorated and 
equipped than Baytul Muqaddas. The people of every place we came to became 
feeble, and despair and fear entered their hearts - not so Baytul Muqaddas. We 
besieged them for three days but not a single one of them came to speak to us. All 
they did was show off their tight security and defences. 

On the fourth day a bedouin said to Shurahbil 4&>, "O commander, it is as if these 
people are deaf and cannot hear us or dumb and cannot speak to us or blind and 
cannot see us. Lead us in an attack against them." 



After Salatul Fajr on the fifth day, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4& went to speak to them. 
He unsheathed his sword and took a translator with him. He reached close enough to 
the city wall for them to hear him, but they maintained their silence. 

Yazid 4*> : Say to them that the commander of the 'Arabs says - Will you not accept 
an invitation to Islam, to the Truth, to the declaration of sincerity i.e. "There is no 
deity but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." Our Rabb will then 
forgive all your past sins and your blood will be safe. If you refuse then surrender as 
those before you surrendered. Bear in mind that they were stronger and greater in 
number than you. If you refuse both these options then ruin will befall you and you 
can reserve your place in Hell. 

Translator : O people, who is your spokesman? 

Priest (wearing clothing of hair) : I am. What do you want? 

Translator : The general calls you to this... so you now have three options; either 
Islam or Jizyah or the sword. 

The priest conveyed the message to those behind him. They made declarations of 
their disbelief and said, "We will never leave the religion of honour. To be killed is a 
lighter matter for us." The translator translated for Yazid 4» who went to tell the other 
generals and said, "Why are you still waiting to attack them?" 

Generals : Abu 'Ubaydah has not ordered us to attack them, only to besiege them. 
We should write to him and if he permits, we will attack. 

Yazid 4a therefore wrote to him, informing him of their reply and requesting further 
instructions. Abu 'Ubaydah replied that they should attack and that he would 
personally arrive soon. Upon receiving the letter, the Muslims spent the night 
rejoicing and awaiting the arrival of morning. They all anticipated fighting the enemy 
and every general hoped that the city's conquest would be at his hands so that he 
could be the first to perform salah therein and observe all the sacred relics of the 
ancient prophets. 

At dawn, Yazid 4*> led his men in Salatul Fajr and recited: 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

O my people enter the sacred land (Baytul Muqadda and 

surrounds) which Allah has decreed for you and do not turn 

back. [5:23] 

It is said that Allah inspired each general to recite that verse as if they had all agreed 
to it. After Salah it was called out, "To arms! To arms! O cavalry of Allah, mount 
your horses." 

The first to advance was the Himyar and the other Yamanis. The Muslims advanced 
like a striking black snake. 

The enemy watched, all spread out in battle-array. They began opening fire, 
showering the Muslims with arrows like a swarm of locusts. The Muslims protected 
themselves with their shields. The battle was fierce and lasted from morning until 
sunset. The enemy showed no fear and gave the Muslims no hope of conquering their 

At sunset the Muslims returned to their camp and performed the salah which Allah 
had decreed upon them. They saw to themselves and ate supper. Thereafter they lit 
numerous fires because they had plenty of firewood with them. Some engaged in 
Salah, others recited the Quran, others wept before Allah while the fatigued ones 

The next morning the Muslims again advanced, taking the name of Allah profusely, 
praising Him and sending salutations upon Rasulullah ®. The archers went ahead 
and began firing, taking the name of Allah with each arrow shot and loudly making 

The Muslims fought the people of Baytul Muqaddas for ten days, but the enemy only 
displayed happiness and showed not the least trace of fear. On the eleventh day, Abu 
'Ubaydah's <&> slave, Salim, was seen coming, carrying his master's flag. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4» then arrived, surrounded by horsemen. On his right was Khalid <& and 
on his left 'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr <&. The Muslims gave a huge shout of "La 
ilaha illallah wallahu AkbarF'which spread amongst the tribes. 

3) The Patriarch of Baytul Muqaddas 

The Christians finally felt fear. Their leaders, elders and patricians went to the great 
Cathedral of al-Qumamah or al-'Imamah. They humbly submitted themselves before 
the patriarch whom they greatly revered and said, "O father, their chief commander 



has brought the rest of the Muslims and is causing this great noise." When the 
bishop heard this his face and colour changed and he said, "This is it. This is it." 

Christians : What is it, O our patriarch and great father? 

Patriarch : By the Gospel! If their commander has come then your end is at hand. 

Christians : How is that? 

Patriarch : We have learnt from knowledge inherited from the ancients that a 
reddish-brown man named 'Umar who is a companion of their prophet called 
Muhammad will conquer the length and breadth of the land. If he has come then there 
is no way of fighting him and you will have no power against him. I must examine 
his appearance. If it is indeed him then I will surrender and accept whatever he 
demands. If it someone else then we shall never surrender for none but 'Umar can 
conquer our city. 

The patriarch got up surrounded by priests, monks and acolytes who raised the cross 
above his head and opened the Bible before him. The patricians then also gathered 
around him. He climbed the city wall at the side where Abu 'Ubaydah <& had arrived. 
He saw the Muslims making salam and honouring their commander. They 
immediately returned to fighting like hunting lions. 

A man who had walked in front of the patriarch then called out, "O Muslims, stop 
fighting so that we may ask you some questions." When the Muslims stopped 
fighting, a Roman called out in 'Arabic, "We know the description of the man who 
will conquer our city and all the land. If he is your commander we shall surrender 
otherwise if it is not him we shall never surrender." 

A group of Muslims went to inform Abu 'Ubaydah 4&. When he went to them, the 
patriarch said, "This is not him. Rejoice and defend your city, religion and women." 

The Christians raised their voices with their words of disbelief and proceeded to 
attack. A vicious fight ensued. The patriarch returned to his cathedral without saying 
a single word to Abu 'Ubaydah <&, but ordered his people to carry on fighting. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> also returned to his men. 

Khdlid 4fr : What did they want from you? 

Abu 'Ubaydah <$> : I really do not know. I went out to them as you saw when one of 
their devils appeared. This devil who misleads them examined me and shouted 
something and left without saying a single word to me. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Khdlid 4fr '• There must be some kind of reason for all this which we will find out. 
Abu 'Ubaydah & : For now, destroy them with war. 
The Muslims then attacked. 

4) The Battle 

The Muslims attacked Baytul Muqaddas during a harsh winter and the inhabitants 
thought that their enemies would not be able to overcome them at that time. 

The Yamani archers took aim and opened fire with arrows made of mountain trees 
which had a heavy impact. The Romans had no protection due to their indifference 
and before they knew it the arrows came thudding into their chests right through to 
their backs. 

Muhalhil or 'Awf bin Muhayil narrates: 

Allah be praised at the 'Arabs of Yaman. I saw them firing at the Romans who came 
tumbling down their wall one after the other like a flock of sheep. When they saw the 
effect of the arrows they covered the wall with shields, leather and anything else 
strong enough to deflect the arrows. 

The Romans saw Dirar 4^> coming towards the Great Gate. At the top of the gate there 
was a great patrician wearing a jewelled cross on his head and exhorting the people 
to battle. He was surrounded by boys holding stringed bows and spears. 

'Awf bin Muhalhil narrates: 

I saw Dirar •&> sneaking towards the tower where the patrician was. When he came 
near he fired an arrow. I saw how high the wall and tower were and said to myself, 
"What can that arrow do when that patrician is wearing shiny upper-body armour and 
the wall is so high?" 

But I swear by Allah! The arrow penetrated his mouth and he fell to the bottom of 
the tower. The people heard a great scream with a frightening echo and realised that 
he had been killed. 

Four months had passed since Abu 'Ubaydah's <&> arrival and not a day had gone 
without intense fighting. The Muslims persevered against the cold, snow and rain. 



When the Romans began to feel the pinch of the siege, they went to the cathedral, 
prostrated before the patriarch and said, "O Father, the siege of these 'Arabs is 
hurting us and we cannot even hope for help from Caesar because he is obviously too 
busy recovering after the defeat of his army. The 'Arabs like to fight more than we 
do. We have not spoken a single word to them since they arrived because we look 
down upon them, but now things are so bad we ask you to go to them and see what 
they want. If their terms are acceptable then we will comply, but if they are too 
difficult then we will open the gates and fight them until either we are all killed or 
we defeat them." 

The patriarch agreed. He put on his robes, climbed the wall with them carrying a 
cross in front of him. The priests and monks surrounded him, carrying open Bibles 
and incense. When they reached the spot facing Abu 'Ubaydah <&> someone shouted 
in pure 'Arabic, "O 'Arabs, the pillar of the Christian Faith and master of its Law has 
come to speak to you. Let your commander come here." 

5) Negotiations 

When Abu 'Ubaydah ^ was informed, he said, "By Allah! I will answer him where 
he calls me." He went with a group of officers, Sahabah *& and a translator. Upon 
reaching them they said to the translator, " What do you want in our sacred city? God 
becomes angry and destroy whoever targets it." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4*> : Tell them that yes, she is indeed a noble city. From her our 
Prophet ® was taken to the Heavens and approached his Rabb the distance of two 
bows or even closer. She is the origin of the Prophets and their graves are in her. We 
are more entitled to her than you and will stay here until Allah grants her to us just 
as He granted the other cities to us. 

Patriarch : So what exactly do want from us? 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» : One of three options - The first is that you say, "There is no deity 
but Allah alone Who has no partner and that Muhammad is His Slave and 
Messenger." If you accept these words then our rights and duties will be the same. 

Patriarch : Those are very great words. We already recite them except that we do not 
accept Prophet Muhammad to be a Messenger. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> : O enemy of Allah, you lie! You people have never taken Allah to 
be One. Allah has informed us in His Book that you say, "Christ is the son of God" 
but there is no deity except Allah. He is Pure and High, incomparably high above 
what the oppressors attribute to Him. 

Patriarch : Then this option we cannot accept. What is the second option? 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : You will surrender your city and pay us the Jizyah in a state of 
humility just as the other cities of Syria are paying. 

Patriarch : That is even worse than the first option because we do not lower 
ourselves to anyone. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> '■ Then we will fight you until Allah grants us victory over you. We 
will enslave your women and children and kill all the men who oppose the 
declaration of Allah's Unity and cling to their declaration of disbelief. 

Patriarch : We shall not surrender our city even if it means death. Why should we 
surrender when we have ample provisions to withstand your siege, excellent 
equipment and powerful soldiers? We are not like those cities which voluntarily paid 
Jizyah. They are people upon whom Christ is angry, hence He placed them under 
your rule. However, we live in a city in which if anyone prays to Christ, He answers 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^> : You lie again, O enemy of Allah. 

flirt oi^=t £\£= vui^ Ailj ^Ijrt^i 

Christ, son of Mary, was nothing but a Messenger. Many 

Messengers passed before him and his mother was a truthful, 

virtuous lady. Both of them ate food (which Allah does not do). 


Patriarch : I swear by Christ! Even if you besiege us for twenty years you will never 
be able to conquer us. We will only be conquered by a certain man who is described 
in our Scriptures and knowledge. This city will be conquered by a companion of 



Muhammad called 'Umar. He will be known as al-Faruq (the one who distinguishes 
between Truth and Falsehood.) He is a stern faced man who is not concerned about 
the rebuke of people when it comes to obeying Allah. This is not your description. 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^> (laughing) : By the Rabb of the Ka'bah! We have conquered the 
city. Will you recognise this man if you see him? 

Patriarch : Why should I not when I have his exact description and age? 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^> : By Allah! He is our Khalifah and Sahabi of our Prophet S. 

Patriarch : If he is as you say then, seeing that you know us to be truthful, you should 
stop the bloodshed and send for your man to come here. If we see that it is in fact 
him, we will open our city for him without any disturbance and pay the Jizyah. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4a : I will send for him. In the interim, are you still going to fight us 
or can we be safe and desist from you? 

Patriarch : O 'Arabs, do you never leave violence? We have given you such 
information in complete honesty in order to save lives but you still mention battle. 

Abit 'Ubaydah «&> : Yes. In fact we do love battle more than we love life for through 
it we hope for our Rabb's forgiveness. 

He then announced a ceasefire and both left. 

6) Abu 'Ubaydah 4k> writes to 'Umar & 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& gathered the generals and Muslims and told them what the 
Patriarch had said. They raised their voices proclaiming, "La ilaha illallah Allahu 
Akbar!" and said, "O commander, do it! Write to the Commander of the Believers. 
Perhaps he will come and conquer this city for us." 

Shurahbil <&> : Be patient. All we have to do is to say that the Khalifah is already 
amongst us. We will show them Khalid 4& and then they will open the gates and save 
us a lot of difficulty. 

Khalid 4e resembled 'Umar *&> the most. 

In the morning the translator announced to the Christians, "The Khalifah has come." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& gave Khalid 4& instructions and so they all mounted and went to 
the enemy, saying, "The man whom you seek has come." 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

They informed the patriarch who came and stood on the city wall and said, "Tell him 
to come forward so that we can see him." 

When Khalid *&> came forward he said, "By Christ! This looks like it is him but some 
signs are missing. I implore you in the name of your religion, tell me the truth - who 
are you really? 

Khalid £& : I am one of his companions. 

Patriarch : You 'Arab boys, this is treachery! By Christ! Until we do not see the 
described man we will neither open the gates nor will any of us speak to you even if 
you besiege us for twenty years. 

He left without saying anything further, so the Muslims said, "Write to the Commander 
of the Believers. Perhaps he will come and grace this place." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> then wrote : 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

To : Allah's slave, the Commander of the Believers, 'Umar bin 

From : His governor, Abu 'Ubaydah Amir bin al-Jarrdh 

As-Salamu 'alayka 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and convey 
salutations upon His Prophet Muhammad. 

Know, O Commander of the Believers, that we arrived at Baytul 
Muqaddas and have been fighting now for four months. Every 
day we attack each other. The Muslims greatly suffer because of 
the snow, cold and rain but they are patient for the sake of Allah, 
their Rabb. 

A day prior to me writing this letter, their patriarch whom they 
greatly honour said that they find in their scriptures that none 
shall conquer the city except for a Sahdbi of our Prophet 3 



called 'Umar whose full description they have in their 
scriptures. They have requested the cessation of bloodshed and 
that you personally come to us. We hope that Allah will conquer 
this city through you. 

He folded and sealed the letter and said, "0 Muslims, who will deliver this letter? His 
reward is from Allah." 

Maysarah bin Masruq hastily accepted and said, "I am the messenger. If Allah Most 
High wills I will return with 'Umar bin al-Khattab &." 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^> : Then take the letter. 

7) 'All's <&> recommendation 

Maysarah took the letter, mounted his high-humped she-camel and continuously 
travelled until he reached al-Madinah at night. 

Maysarah narrates: 

By Allah! I did not stop by anyone. I went straight to the masjid where I beseated and 
tied my she-camel. I entered the masjid and made salam at the graves of Rasulullah 
® and Abu Bakr 4&> and then slept in the masjid for I had not slept many nights. 
Nothing woke me except the athan of 'Umar 4&> who called it out in the dark. 
Thereafter he entered the masjid calling out, "Salah! May Allah have mercy on you." 

I stood up, performed wudu and prayed Salatul Fajr behind him. 

When he left the mihrab (prayer-niche in front of the masjid), I stood and made salam 
to him. He shook my hands and was delighted to see me. 

'Umar 4& : Maysarah, by the Rabb of the Ka'bah it is you! What news do you have? 

Maysarah : Goodness and safety, O Commander of the Believers. 

I then gave him the letter. He read it out to the Muslims who rejoiced. 

'Umar 4» : What is your view as to what Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe has written to me? May 
Allah have mercy upon you. 

'Uthmdn bin 'Affan 4» : O Commander of the Believers, Allah has disgraced Rome 
and expelled her from Syria. He has granted the Muslims victory over her. The 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Muslims have now besieged Baytul Muqaddas and made life difficult for the 
inhabitants. Each day their disgrace, weakness and fear increases. If you stay where 
you are they will see that you regard them lightly and not worth the effort to fight 
personally. In a short while they will themselves come in humiliation and render 

'Umar 4& : May Allah reward you well! Does anyone hold a different view? 

Alt 4» : Yes, my view is different. I will explain if I may. May Allah have mercy 
upon you. 

'Umar 4i> : What is it, O Abu al-Hasan? 

Alt 4& '■ They have asked for you and that very request is in itself a victory for the 
Muslims. The Muslims are suffering much because of the cold, the fighting and 
lengthy camping. I feel that if you go to them Allah may conquer the city at your 
hands. Furthermore you will be well rewarded for your journey - in fact for the 
hunger and thirst that you experience and for every crossing of valleys and climbing 
of mountains until you reach them. Thereafter there will be peace, security and 
victory for the Muslims. I fear that if they lose hope in your coming and in peace they 
will fortify themselves and receive help from their despot. Once reinforcements enter 
the city they will not change their minds. The correct thing for you to do, if Allah 
wills, is to go. 

'Umar <& (happy): 'Uthman has properly examined the tricks of the enemy while 
'All has looked towards the welfare of the Muslims - may Allah reward them both. I 
have decided upon 'All's view whom I know to be a good and blessed advisor. 

He then ordered the people to prepare for the journey. Upon completing this they 
waited outside al-Madinah as ordered. Umar 4& then went to the Masjid where he 
performed four rak'at. Thereafter he made salam to Rasulullah ft and Abu Bakr 4i> 
and left al-Madinah having appointed 'Ali <& as his deputy. The people came to 
escort him and bid him farewell. 

8) 'Umar <&> sets out for Baytul Muqaddas 

'Umar 4* rode his red camel with a sack of dates and a sack of Sawiq cereal. He had 
in front of him a leather bag of water and behind him a bowl. He was accompanied 
by Sahabah 4> who had participated in al-Yarmvik and had returned to al-Madinah. 
These included az-Zubayr 4& and 'Ubadah bin as -Samit *&. 



Wherever he camped for the night he would not leave until he had prayed Salatul Fajr 
at that site. He would then turn to the Muslims and say, "All praise be to Allah who 
honoured us with Islam and ennobled us with faith; Who singled us out for the 
blessings of His Prophet, salutations and peace be upon him; Who guided us after 
misguidance; Who after disunity united us upon the Word of piety and united our 
hearts; Who helped us against our enemy; Who entrenched us in His cities; Who 
made us brethren who love each other. So, O slaves of Allah, praise Him for these 
all-encompassing and clear bounties and favours, for Allah increases for the 
enthusiastic who seek more from what is with Him. He completes His favours to the 
grateful ones." 

He would then take his bowl, fill it with cereal, sprinkle it with dates and say, after 
presenting it to the Muslims, "Eat and enjoy." 

He would then eat with the Muslims. They would then depart and this remained the 
routine throughout the journey. 

'Amr bin Malik al-'Absi narrates: 

I accompanied 'Umar 4& to Syria. We passed by a spring, That al-Manar, which 
belonged to the Jutham. A caravan of theirs was also camped there. 'Umar *& 
decided to camp there. At that moment, while he was surrounded by the Sahabah A> 
of Rasulullah SI a group of the Jutham came and said, "O Commander of the 
Believers, we have amongst us a man who is married to two sisters." 

'Umar 4* became enraged and said, "Bring him to me." When he was brought 'Umar 
4i> asked, "Who are these two women?" 

Juthami : My two wives. 

'Umar <&> : Are they related to each other? 

Juthami : Yes, they are sisters. 

'Umar 4& : What is your religion? Are you not a Muslim? 

Juthami : I certainly am. 

'Umar 4&> : Do you not know that that is forbidden upon you? 

Allah says in His Book: 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

" \ " '- I ' vtl "' vTf -"-' " \ f ' ' ' f' 

(7? is forbidden unto you) to marry two sisters at the same time 
except for that which has passed. [4:23] 

Juthdmi : I did not know that they are forbidden upon me. 

'Umar 4i> (enraged): By Allah, you lie! It is forbidden upon you. If you do not leave 
one of them I will cut your neck. 

Juthdmi : You rule against me? 

'Umar^ : Yes. By Allah besides Whom there is no other deity. 
Juthdmi : This religion has brought us no good. I had no need to enter it. 

'Umar ■#>: Come closer.... 

As he came, 'Umar £&> whipped him twice on the head and said, "You take Islam to 
be bad luck, you enemy of Allah and enemy of your own self. This is the Din which 
Allah is pleased with for His angels, His Messenger and the best of His creation. 
Leave one of them or I will whip you for innovating. 

Juthdmi : How can I when I love them both? Very well, I will draw lots. Whichever 
one's name comes up is for me and I am for her even though I love them both. 

So 'Umar 4fe ordered him to do that. He drew a name and divorced the other. 
'Umar 4s then went to him and said, "Listen, O man, listen carefully and remember 
what I say. Whoever enters our Din and then apostates will be killed by us. Beware 
of leaving Islam. Beware that I should hear that you have sexually approached the 
sister whom you have divorced, for then I will stone you to death." 

'Umar 4&> continued his journey until he reached a district of Banu Murrah. There he 
saw some people who were made to stand in the sun as punishment. 

'Umar ^ : Why are these people being punished like this? 

Muslims : They have outstanding land-tax. 

'Umar *& : What excuse do they offer? 

Muslims : They say, "We do not find enough to pay." 



'Umar 4^> : Leave them and do not burden them with what they are unable to bear. I 
have heard Rasulullah S say, "Do not punish people wrongfully in the world lest 
Allah punishes you on the Day of Judgement." 

He then released them. 

9) Meeting Abu 'Ubaydah & 

When he reached Wadi al-Qura, the people informed him that there lived at the 
spring an old man who had a friend whom he dearly loved. His friend had said to 
him, "Let me share your wife in exchange for herding your camels. I will get her for 
a day and night and you will get her for a day and night." 

The old man replied, "We are in agreement" and was pleased with the arrangement. 

'Umar 4fc summoned them and they were brought to him. 

'Umar 4* •" Woe unto you two. What is your religion? 

The two friends : Islam. 

'Umar 4& : Then what is this that I have heard of you? 

The two : What is it? 

He then told them what the bedouins had told him. 

Old man : O Commander of the Believers, it is correct. 

'Umar 4& : Did you two not know that that is forbidden in Islam? 

The two : By Allah! No, we did not know. 

'Umar4» : O old man, what made you do such an abomination? 

Old man : I am an aged man and have no-one else to depend on. So I said to him, 
"Will you help me with herding and watering my animals in exchange for a share of 
my wife?" Only now do I know that it is forbidden and will not do it. 

'Umar 4*> : Take your wife by the hand. Not even I have a right to her. O young man, 
beware of coming near her. If I hear that you do I will strike off your neck. 

He then continued until he reached the Syrian border. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Aslam bin Barqan, the freed slave of 'Umar <$> narrates: 

When he reached Syria we saw a group of horsemen. 'Umar 4&> said to az-Zubayr 4fr, 
"Hurry and investigate them." 

Az-Zubayr <&> hastened towards them and found them to be Yamanis. Abu 'Ubaydah 
4& had sent them to get news on 'Umar 4i>. 

Az-Zubayr 4t> narrates: 

They made salam to me and said, "O young man, from where do you come?" 

Az-Zubayr <^> : From the city of Rasulullah $. 

Yamanis : In what state did you leave the people? 

Az-Zubayr 4&> : Good. 

Yamanis : What is 'Umar 4^> doing? Is he coming to us or not? 

Az-Zubayr ^ : Who are you? 

Yamanis: We are 'Arabs of Yaman. Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe sent us to get news on 

I returned and reported to 'Umar & who said, "You were correct in not replying." 

Another group then came and asked about 'Umar & who said, "Here, I am 'Umar. 
What do you want?" 

They replied, "O Commander of the Believers, eyes flow with tears and necks stretch 
in anticipation of your coming. Perhaps Allah will grant you victory over Baytul 

They returned to the Muslim camp and announced, "O Muslims, rejoice at 'Umar 's 
4& coming." 

The Muslims were excited and all wanted to mount their horses to welcome him, but 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> called out, "I command you to keep to your posts." 

He then left with a group of Muhajirin 4*> and Ansar &■ Umar 4fc saw that he was 
fully armed with a bow strung around his shoulders and mounted on a she-camel 
covered with a cloak-like wrap with a halter of knitted hair. They both seated their 
camels, dismounted and met each other on foot. 



Abu 'Ubaydah ^ stretched his hand out. 'Umar 4& shook it. They then hugged each 
other and made salam. The others then made salam to 'Umar *$>. They remounted and 
led the way, speaking to each other all the way back to Baytul Muqaddas (Probably 
al-Jdbiyah is meant here - translator's note). 'Umar <&> then led the Muslims in 
Salatul Fajr after which he delivered an excellent sermon. In it he said, "Praise be to 
Allah, the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Magnificent, the Strongest, the Most 
Powerful, the One who always does as He pleases. Allah Most High has honoured us 
with Islam and guided us through Muhammad upon whom be the choicest salutations 
and peace. He freed us from misguidance. He united us after we were divided. He 
united our hearts after they were filled with mutual hatred. So praise Him upon these 
favours and you will be entitled to more because Allah Himself says : 

m s ' i * •& ** ' -^ •* t*y * fc * * ' ' ' 

-LjjXcJ ^.1 OP OJ fij A^r => jjj ^So OjJ V J^-^sa.C'u <jJ 

If you are grateful I will definitely grant you more. If you are 
ungrateful then know that My punishment is severe. [14:7] 

He whom Allah guides is the real guided one while you will 

never find any guiding friend for he whom He allows to go 

astray. [18:17] 

At that point a priest who was present stood up and exclaimed, "God will never let 
anyone go astray!" 

When he repeated his words 'Umar <ia said, "If he repeats what he said then strike 
off his neck." 

He then continued the sermon, "I strongly advise you to fear Allah Who alone will 
remain while everything besides Him will perish; Whose friends can only benefit 
through obeying Him; Whose enemies can only be destroyed through defying him. O 
people, pay your Zakdh with a clean heart desiring no reward or thanks for it from 
the creation. Understand what you are encouraged towards for indeed the intelligent 
man is most protective of his Din. Fortunate is he who takes lessons from others. 
Behold! The most evil action is innovations in Islam. Hold firmly onto the Sunnah of 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

your Prophet &. Moderation in following the Sunnah is better than great effort in 
following innovations. Keep firmly to the Quran which contains all kinds of cure and 
rewards. " 

"O people, Rasululldh H stood amongst us just as I am standing amongst you and 
said, 'Follow my Sahdbah, then those who follow them, then those who follow the 
followers. Thereafter lies will prevail until that person whose testimony is not 
accepted will testify and he whose oath is not accepted will take oath. 

"So whoever desires to reside in the centre ofJannah should keep to the community 
of Muslims and seek protection against the Devil. Nobody should be in privacy with 
a strange women for the Devil makes the third. A believer is he who will be pleased 
with her piety and displeased with her evil (not appearance). Guard your Saldh! 
Guard your Saldh! " 

10) Meeting Bilal £> 

After the sermon he sat down while Abu 'Ubaydah <& reported what had transpired 
with the Romans. 'Umar <&> was astonished, sometimes he wept and sometimes he 
remained still. They continued like this until the time of Salatuzh-Zhur. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4*> then said, "O Commander of the Believers, I will ask Bilal to proclaim 
the athan." 

Bilal 4*> had settled down in that region. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& brought him before 'Umar 
4*> to whom he rendered salam and respects. The Muslims asked 'Umar 4» to ask 
Bilal to give the athan, so he said, "O Bilal, the Sahabah of Rasulullah S ask you to 
proclaim the athan and remind them of the times of their Prophet." 

"Yes," replied Bilal <&>. 

When he declared, "Allahu Akbar!" they got goose-pimples and their bodies 
quivered. When he said, "I testify that there is no deity except Allah. I testify that 
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah!" they wept so much that their hearts broke 
with the mention of Allah and His Rasul H. 

After completing Salah he sat down before 'Umar 4«. 

Bilal 4e : O Commander of the Believers, the governors and armies of Syria eat bird- 
flesh and bread of sifted flour and other such foods which the poor Muslims never 
see or touch. Whereas everybody will perish, his wealth will be dust and so our 



destination is dust. (The eating of such luxuries was contrary to his ascetic nature - 
translator 's note). 

Yazid bin AM Sufydn 4a : Prices are low in these lands. We eat all those things Bilal 
mentions for the same amount of money we would spend in al-Hijaz in a given 

'Umar <&.: Then there is no harm. Eat as much as much you like. However, I will not 
leave here until you compile a register of all the poor Muslims who live in these 
towns and cities so that I can stipulate for each household sufficient wheat, barley, 
honey, olive-oil and other necessities. This is to come from the governors and is 
separate from what comes from my side from the state-treasury. If they fail to do this, 
I will dismiss them. 

'Umar 4& then intended mounting his camel. He was dressed in woollen rags patched 
in twenty-four places, some of the patches being of leather. (In that era cloth was 
expensive and leather more freely available - translator s note). The Muslims 
therefore said, "O Commander of the Believers, why do you not mount a better camel 
and wear some better white clothes?" 

'Umar 4fe did this. 

Az-Zubayr 4t> narrates: 

I estimate that the robes were worth fifteen dirham and were of Egyptian origin. Abu 
'Ubaydah 4&> gave him the linen cloth which was neither new nor worn-out and he 
draped it over his shoulder. Abu 'Ubaydah ^ presented him with a grey Turkish 
horse captured from the horses of the Romans. When 'Umar <&. mounted it, it 
started galloping swiftly He quickly dismounted and said, "Forgive my mistake and 
Allah will forgive your mistake on the Day of Judgement. Your ruler was almost 
destroyed by the vanity and pride which had entered his heart. I have heard 
Rasulullah $| saying, 'He who has an atom of pride in him will not enter Jannah.' 
Your white robe and swift horse were close to ruining me." 

He then stripped off the white linen and put on his patched rags. 

11) The world tries to seduce 'Umar & 

Al-Waqidi narrates: 

'Ubadah bin 'Awf ad-Dinuri was a great scholar,who would speak in rhymed 
sentences. He was reading.the stories of the conquests of Syria and Baytul Muqaddas 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

to us. When he mentioned 'Umar's <&> clothes he said, "My heart contains something 
which people would want to overlook." 

I said, "Tell me and do not fear the truth for fearing the Truth leads to Hell. Truth is 
a trust and lying is a betrayal." 

He said, "When 'Umar 4&> put on his rags a second time he distinguished himself in 
his garb of poverty. The whole universe was astonished at his ascetism and patience 
at that time when the world had presented to him desirable adornments i.e. the horse 
and linen." 

"The world then appeared in a form of a woman. She was completely decorated from 
head to toe to seduce him. She was hoping to negate all his struggles against his 
carnal self. She became visible to him, coming before him with her beautiful 
clothing and false pomp seeking to trade with him. That is, she threatened that if 
'Umar 4& would not love her then he would not be able to attain her, nor would the 
world serve him anymore." 

'"Umar 4e however maintained the people's obedience to him by means of his 
blameless character. She was desirous of trapping him and in her failure she 
resembled the description (of the woman who tried to seduce Yusuf SSS): 

She is madly in love with him. Verily we see her to be clearly 


"She then said, 'O 'Umar ■#>, you have been given rule over my Earth, therefore you 
will have to take me as your share as well. No government can last without fine 
clothing, delicious food and harshness towards the citizenry.'" 

" 'Umar <& replied, 'Go away! I am not one of your men, nor am I of those who will 
fall in your traps and charms. Do you not know that I have dedicated myself to 
oppose you? Your appearing like this before me does not concern me. What does 
concern me is my mission to uphold the work of the master of all the nations, until I 
conquer the lands of Rome and Persia.'" 

"The effects of his struggle against his carnal self then became visible on her face. 
This struggle was in line with what Allah commands: 



And struggle in the Path of Allah as it should be struggled. 


I liked these words and connected what he said to the Hadith of Rasulullah S: 

"There is some magic in speech." 

12) 'Umar <&> arrives at Baytul M uqaddas 

'Umar &> travelled, intending to traverse the mountain-pass through until Baytul 
Muqaddas. A group of Muslims came to meet him. They were wearing brocade they 
had acquired from al-Yarmuk. He ordered dust to be flung in their faces and tore their 

When he reached Baytul Muqaddas he called out, "Allahu Akbar! O Allah, grant us 
an easy victory and send us Your helping power." 

The tribes and leaders came to meet him. He continued until he reached Abu 
'Ubaydah /& where a tent of camel-hair was pitched for him. He sat down in it on 
the bare ground and then arose to pray four rak'at. 

The Muslims proclaimed, "La ilaha illallah wallahu Akbar." The people of Baytul 
Muqaddas heard and the patriarch said to them, "Woe unto you! Why are the 'Arabs 
making a noise for no reason? Go and investigate." 

One of them who knew 'Arabic called out to the Muslims, "O 'Arabs, what is 

A Muslim replied, "The Commander of the Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattab has 
come to us from al-Madinah. We are shouting for joy." 

The man went to inform the patriarch who bowed his head in silence. 

After having led the Muslims in Sialatul Fajr the next day, 'Umar <#» said to 
Abu'Ubaydah 4&, "O 'Amir, go and inform the people that I have arrived." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> went and called out, "O people of this city, the Commander of the 
Believers has arrived. What will you do about what you had previously said?" 

The patriarch was informed. He came, wearing monk's garb surrounded by the 
monks, priests and bishops. He carried in front of him the special cross which they 
only took out on festivals. With him was Batlic, the governor, who said, "O Father, 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

you should be able to recognise him with certainty. Failing that we will not open the 
gates and will fight until either we or they are destroyed." 

Patriarch : I will do that. 

The two climbed the wall. The governor stood at the patriarch's side with the cross 
before them. They called out to Abu 'Ubaydah <&, "What do you want, old man?" 

Abu'Ubaydah 4fc.: This is 'Umar 4&>, Commander of the Believers. There is no 
commander above him. Now come to receive his amnesty, to surrender and to pay 
the Jizyah. 

Patriarch : O man, if he is really the highest ranking then let him approach us so that 
we can recognise his characteristics. Let him come out alone from amongst you and 
stand directly in line with us so that we can see him. If he is the man described in the 
scriptures then we will come down and seek amnesty and pay the Jizyah. If it is not 
him then you will get nothing but battle from us. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4k returned to inform 'Umar 4&>. When he wanted to go his men said, 
"O Commander of the Believers, are you going to them without any weapons, all 
alone and only wearing these rags? We fear treachery against you." 

'Umar <& recited: 

Say: Nothing will afflict us except that which Allah has 

decreed for us. He is our Protector. Upon Allah should the 

Believers rely. [9:51] 

He then called for his camel which he mounted. He wore nothing besides his rags and 
a cotton cap on his head. Only Abu 'Ubaydah 4$> accompanied him and rode ahead 
of him. When they came to the patriarch and governor and stopped in line with them, 
Abu 'Ubaydah <$> called out, "This is the Commander of the Believers." 

The patriarch rubbed his eyes, looked and shouted out loud, "This is he who is 
described in our books, the man who will conquer our city without doubt." 



He then called out to his people, "Woe unto you! Go down for amnesty and 
protection. By God! This is the mentioned companion of Muhammad bin 'Abdillah." 

13) Conquest of Baytul Muqaddas 

When the Romans heard the patriarch they rushed down, having been severely taxed 
by the siege, and opened the gates. They went to 'Umar 4*> seeking his guarantees 
and offering the Jizyah. This only humbled 'Umar 4^ and he prostrated his head on 
the camel's hump out of gratitude to Allah. He dismounted and said, "Return to your 
city with the guarantees you seek since you have agreed to pay Jizyah." 

They returned without locking the gates, while he too returned to the Muslim camp 
to spend the night. 

In the morning 'Umar 4fc finally entered the city. This was on a Monday and he 
remained there until Friday. Then he marked off a plane in the East which became 
Masjid 'Umar <^&. Here he led his men in Salatul Jum'ah. While the Muslims were 
thus engaged the Romans thought of acting treacherously. They said to Abu al-Ja'id 
who had helped the Muslims at al-Yarmuk and had now settled here with all his 
wealth and family, "What do you think of betraying them while they are engaged in 
their prayers without weapons or protection against being killed?" 

Abu al-Ja 'id : O people, do not do this. Do not betray them. If you are going to do 
this I will inform them. 

Romans : Then what should we do? 

Abu al-Ja'id : Display all your worldly goods to them. Whoever sees them will not 
be able to control himself. If they then seek to seize it wrongfully then you will have 
an excuse to do as you please. 

The Romans therefore brought out all their finery and lined it up in the streets 
through which the Muslims used to pass. The Muslims were amazed but none of 
them came near nor touched the goods of the Romans. All they said was, "Praise be 
to Allah Who has granted us control over the houses of people such as these. If He 
had to regard the world equal to the wing of a mosquito He would not have granted 
a Disbeliever a drop of water to drink." 

'Awf bin Salim narrates: 

By Allah! Not a single Muslim took anything from them nor touched their goods. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Abu al-Ja'Td then said to them, "These are the people whom God has described in the 
Torah and Gospel. They will remain on the Truth and none will be able to approach 
them for as long as they remain like this." 

14) The Rabbi's prophecy 

'Umar 4fe remained in Baytul Muqaddas for ten days. 

Shahr bin flawshab narrates from Ka'b al-Ahbar: 

After 'Umar <&> made peace with the people of Baytul Muqaddas, he entered the city 
and remained there for ten days. I came to him from a Palestinian village where I was 
staying, to make salam to him and embrace Islam at his hands. My father was the 
greatest scholar of what had been revealed to Musa bin Tmran 8S3. He loved me 
dearly. He did not hide anything from me, but taught me whatever the people knew. 
At the time of his death he called me and said, "O my son, you know that I never hid 
any of my knowledge from you because I feared that you may end up following some 
liar who might appear. I have hidden two pages in that hole in the wall which you 
can see. Do not take them or read them until you hear of the coming of the Prophet 
of the final era whose name is Muhammad. If Allah wills good unto you, you will 
follow him." 

He then died after giving me this testament and I buried him. After the mourning 
period nothing was more beloved unto me than having to look at those two pages. I 
opened them and they read: 

There is no deity besides Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of 
Allah, he is the seal of all Prophets, there is no prophet to come 
after him. His birthplace is Makkah. His migration is to Taybah 
(al-Madinah) . He is neither rude, nor hard-hearted, nor 
boisterous. His Ummah are those who praise Allah in every 
condition. Their tongues are ever moist with, "La ildha 
Wallah " and "Alldhu Akbar. " They will be victorious over all 
their enemies. They wash their faces and cover the middle of 
their bodies. Their scripture is stored in their hearts. They are 
merciful to each other just as prophets are merciful towards 



their followers. They will be the first nation to enter Paradise on 
the Day of Judgement. 

When I read all that I said to myself, "My father never taught me anything greater 
than this." 

I remained in this state after the death of my father for as long as Allah willed until 
I heard of a prophet proclaiming himself in Makkah and he repeated his claims. I 
said, "By Allah! It must be him." 

I continued to investigate him until it was said to me that he had departed for Yathrib 
(al-Madinah). I continued to follow his progress until he waged war on his enemies 
and conquered them. By the time I made preparations to travel to him I heard that he 
had died and that revelation had come to an end. 

I said to myself, "Perhaps he was not the one I was waiting for." 

I then dreamt that the gates of the sky were opened and that droves of angels were 
descending saying, "The soul of Rasulullah S has been taken. Revelation has been 
cut off from the people of Earth." 

I returned to my people's abode where news reached us that his Ummah was now 
headed by a man called Abu Bakr. I said, "I shall go to him," but I hardly had a 
chance when his armies invaded Syria and he died. It was said that his successor is 
called 'Umar. I said, "I will not enter this religion until I have investigated it." 

While I was waiting like that, 'Umar <& had reached Baytul Muqaddas and had made 
peace with her people. I noticed how he fulfilled his word and how the enemies of 
the Muslims were defeated and so said to myself, "This is certainly the Ummah of 
the Unlettered Prophet." 

My heart told me to enter this religion. 

By Allah! One night as I was standing on my roof a Muslim passed by reciting: 

ty> J>jl* UJ lijL^ji LUjj Lr. \y^»\"f- i_-riS0! \yj\ ,y,)i\ L^Lb 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

O those who have been given the previous scriptures! Believe 
in what We have now revealed which is a confirmation of that 

which you already have before We flatten your faces to 

resemble the backs of Your heads or curse them as We cursed 

those who violated the Sabbath. Verily Allah 's order is always 

fulfilled. [4:47] 

By Allah! When I heard this I feared that I would wake up in the morning with my 
face transformed and I would have loved nothing better than if morning never came." 

15) Ka'b the rabbi embraces Islam 

In the morning I left my house and made enquiries as to where 'Umar ^ was. When 
it was said to me that he was in Baytul Muqaddas, I went and found that he had 
finished leading his men in Salatul Fajr at the Rock. I went up to him and made salam 
to him which he replied to. 

'Umar «&> : Who are you? 

Ka'b : lam Ka'b al-Ahbar (Ka'b of the rabbis). I have come to embrace Islam 
because I have found the description of Muhammad % and his Ummah in the 
revealed scriptures. Allah, Most Honourable and Majestic, had revealed to Musa SSJsS, 
"I have not created any creation more noble to Me than the Ummah of Muhammad. 
Were it not for him I would not have created Paradise, Hell, Heaven or Earth. His 
Ummah is the best of all ummahs and his Din is the best din. I am sending him in the 
final era. His Ummah will be shown mercy. He is the Prophet of mercy. He is the 
Unlettered Prophet from the lowlands of West Arabia. He is of the Quraysh tribe and 
is merciful unto the Believers but hard against the Disbelievers. His private life is just 
like his public life. His word does not oppose his deed. He treats the near one and far 
one equally. His Sahabah are merciful unto each other and keep ties to each other." 

'Umar 4*> '■ O Ka'b, do you speak the truth? 

Ka 'b : By Allah! Yes. Allah hears what I say and knows what the hearts conceal. 

'Umar 4s> : All praise belongs to Allah who honoured, ennobled, elevated and 
showed mercy unto us through His mercy Muhammad $k O Ka'b, why do you not 
enter Islam right now? 



Ka'b : O Commander of the Believers, first tell me, is there any mention of Ibrahim 
$s@ in your revealed Book with regard to your religion? 

'Umar *&> : Yes. 

And Ibrahim left testament of it to his sons and Ya'qub also 

(did this). He (Ibrahim) said, "O my sons verily Allah has 

chosen for you this religion so do not die except as those who 

submit. " Or were you witness when death approached Ya 'qub 

and he said, to his sons, "What will you worship after me? " 

They replied, "We will worship your God and the God of your 

fathers, Ibrahim, Ismd 'il and Ishdq. He is one god and to Him 

do we submit. " [2:133] 

LJLU. Li~^>- ^j_J$ ' C^r^J ^-s^J^ Vj ^£?Jt- (*-** l/5j 0^ ^ 

Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but was one who 

separated himself from false gods and submitted to Allah as a 

Muslim. [3:67] 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

f -K. ^ * .' «r 

Should they seek a religion other than Allah s whereas all who 
are in the Heavens and Earth submit to Him? [3:83] 

He who seeks a Din other than Islam will never have it 
accepted from him. [3:85] 

S f ' ' s 

-' f-' s-i - 

Say: My Rabb has guided me to the Straight Path - the upright 
religion, the way of Ibrahim. [6:161] 

^4//a/j /zas wo? caused you difficulty in religion. It is the way of 

your forefather Ibrahim. He already called you Muslims from 

before. [22:78] 

Ka'b.O Commander of the Believers, I testify that there is no deity except Allah and 
I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 

'Umar 4a (delighted) : Will you come with me to al-Madinah to benefit by visiting 
Rasulullah's S grave? 



Ka 'b : Yes, O Commander of the Believers, I will do that. 

'Umar 4s> then left after writing out the treaty allowing the people of Baytul 
Muqaddas to remain in their lands upon payment of Jizyah. He went with his 
companions up to al-Jabiyah. There he compiled his register and took the state's one- 
fifth share of the booty which Allah had granted to the Muslims. 

He then divided Syria into two zones: Abu 'Ubaydah & was given direct 
responsibility from Hawran to Aleppo and surrounds and was ordered to conquer 
Aleppo. Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4fr, under Abu 'Ubaydah 's 4& supervision, was given 
Palestine, Baytul Muqaddas and the coast and was ordered to conquer Caesarea. 

(See Appendix E - translator). 

Most of the army was to remain with Abu 'Ubaydah 4& and Khalid & was to stay 
with him. He sent 'Amr bin al-'As <& to Egypt and appointed 'Amr bin Sa'id al- 
Ansari as judge of Hims. 

'Umar <& then left with Ka'b for al-Madinah. The people of al-Madinah feared that 
he would remain in Syria once he saw all her fruits and cheap prices as well as it 
being sacred land and home to the prophets and the place of gathering for the Day of 
Judgement. They would come out daily hoping to see him coming. So when he 
finally returned, the city was filled with excitement and the Sahabah of Rasulullah H 
rejoiced at seeing him. They made salam to him, welcomed him and congratulated 
him for what Allah had conquered at his hands. He went straight to the Masjid, made 
salam to Rasulullah ® and Abu Bakr <& and prayed two Raka'at. He called Ka'b and 
said, "Relate to the people what you saw on the two sheets." 

Ka'b's narration only increased their faith. 

16) The author repeats his reason for compiling the book 

I (al-Waqidi) narrate from Ahmad bin al-Husayn bin al-' Abbas who is known 
as Abu Sufyan the grammarian, who narrates from Abu Ja'far bin Ahmad bin 
'Ubayd an-Nasikh who narrates from 'Abdullah bin Aslam az-Zuhri and 
'Abdullah bin Yahya az-Zarqi who narrates from all those whose names have 
been mentioned at the beginning of this book. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

These people lived quite recently and were contemporaries of each other. Allah is the 
one who saves us from additions and subtractions. Truth is a trust and falsehood is a 
betrayal. I swear by Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and Who is the 
Knower of the invisible and visible! I have evaluated and narrated these reports on 
the conquests on a basis of utter honesty so that I can establish the great value of the 
Sahabah of Rasulullah II and refute the Shi'is who abandon both the Sunnah and 
what is obligatory. Allah Most High has willed that were it not for them then those 
lands would not have been in the possession of the Muslims and knowledge of this 
Din would not have spread. Allah be praised at their deeds! They waged Jihad as it 
should be waged, no doubt. The King who has all power has said about them: 

Amongst them are those who have fulfilled their vows and 
amongst them are those who await. [33:23] 

17) Yazid 4fc reaches Caesarea 

'Umar j& had appointed Abu 'Ubaydah <&> over Syria and ordered him to conquer 
Aleppo, Antioch, Mafraq and their forts. He sent 'Amr bin al-As <&> to Egypt and 
Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4» to the Syrian coast. Yazid 4&> thus reached Caesarea which 
was governed by Constantine, Heraclius's son. He had with him a garrison of 80,000 
Romans, Christian 'Arabs and North Europeans. When he saw Yazid 4& coming he 
requested reinforcements from his father, who sent the governor of Mar' ash with 
20,000 North European warriors, and also sent mounts laden with provisions and 

Yazid <&> felt that he would not be able to overcome them so he wrote to 'Umar 4s>: 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 
From : Yazid bin Abi Sufyan, the governor of SW Syria 
To : 'Umar bin al-Khattdb 

I have reached Caesarea which I have found to be heavily 
garrisoned. There is no way of conquering her. Constantine 
requested reinforcements from his father who sent him a further 
20,000 troops under the governor of Mar 'ash. He receives 
mounts loaded with provisions and fodder daily. 




He sent the letter with 'Amr bin Salim bin Humayd an-Nakha'i who arrived in al- 
Madinah and handed the letter to 'Umar &. 

'Umar 4& : From whom is this letter? 

'Amr : From your governor, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan 4&>. 

'Umar 4& read the letter and began worrying about Yazid 4&>. When 'All came and 
read the letter he said, "Do not worry about the Muslims. Allah will conquer 
Caesarea through you. Reinforce Yazid and write to him." 

'Umar <& therefore wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah <i& who had 20,000 troops with him to 
reinforce Yazid who only had 10,000 troops with him. When Abu 'Ubaydah ^ 
received the letter he sent 3 ,000 cavalry to Yazid under Harb bin 'Adi. 

18) The brothers of Aleppo 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> now had 17,000 mostly Yamani troops left with him. He had 
agreed to a treaty with Qinsarin and al-'Awasim upon receiving payment of 15,000 
Mithqal (65.6 kg) of gold, 15,000 of silver, 1,000 robes of brocade and 500 Wasaq 
(96.4 1) of figs and olive-oil. Upon the expiry of the term of grace they brought what 
they had promised from their city. He wrote out the document and entered the city 
with Khalid^fe and all the Muslim Chiefs and marked off a Masjid. 

When the people of Aleppo heard of the 'Arabs entering Qinsarin and of the further 
advance they became highly agitated. Aleppo belonged to two brothers who lived in 
a fort outside the city-limits. The two, Yuhanna and Yuqanna, had the same father 
and mother. Their father was the local king whose territories, farms and estates had 
stretched all the way from the mountains to the Euphrates River. He had ruled Aleppo 
unchallenged for years. Heraclius feared him and was forced to tolerate him in order 
to maintain the pretence of Imperial unity. When he seceded from the Roman Empire 
no troops were sent against him due to his great evil, conniving schemes and the 
strength of his dynasty. When he had passed-through the rural districts of Antioch he 
decided to base himself in the fort of Aleppo. He strengthened it, added to its 
buildings and established himself in the land. 

Upon his death the elder brother, Yuqanna, succeeded him. He was a brave, war- 
mongering person who gathered wealth and initiated wars. His evil could not be 
checked. His younger religious brother, Yuhanna, had become a monk and had left 
politics to him. He was the most learned scholar of his time. When they heard of Abu 
'Ubaydah's <& advance he asked Yuqanna, "What have you decided upon?" 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Yuqanna : I will fight the 'Arabs. I will not let them come near our lands. They will 
see that I am not like the governors of Syria whom they had encountered until now. 

Yuhanna had studied the Gospel and the Psalms. His sole occupation was the 
building of churches and monasteries and clothing and caring for the bishops, priests 
and monks. When he heard that al-'Awasim had been conquered by the sword and 
Qinsarin by treaty and that the 'Arab cavalry was advancing towards the Euphrates 
and al-Baqa', he went to his elder brother, Yuqanna, and said, "O brother, I wish to 
privately consult with you tonight to reveal my views and secrets and to learn yours." 

Yuqanna agreed and so they met that night in a building within the fort which their 
father used. 

Yuqanna : O brother, do you not see what is befalling us from these 'Arabs whose 
stomachs are empty and bodies naked? Do you not see that the people of Syria are 
being killed and their wealth plundered and that these people do not invade any city 
except that they always conquer it and rule over its people? How should we deal with 
them? It is as if they are already here. 

Yuhanna : O brother, if you really seek my opinion then I will sincerely advise you 
and will not deceive you if you accept my advice. I may be younger than you but I 
have deeper insight then you. I swear by Christ and the Communion! If you accept 
what I say your status will remain high and your life and wealth will be saved. 

Yuqanna : O my brother, I know you only to be a well-wisher. What is your 

Yuhanna : Send an envoy to the 'Arabs. Give them whatever they want. Surrender 
and fix an annual tribute which you will pay for as long as they have the upper hand. 

Yuqanna (angry) : May Christ disfigure you! What useless speech. Your mother only 
gave birth to you as a monk and priest whom I cannot follow. Monks do not have 
hearts because they only eat lentils, olive-oil and herbs and do not eat meat and know 
no luxury. They have no insight into war and know nothing about encountering men. 
As for me, I am a king and the son of a king. All they will get from me is war. The 
kings of the world will not see me weak. Woe unto you! How can we surrender our 
city to the 'Arabs without even putting up a fight? 

Yuhanna (smiling) : O my brother, by Christ! I see your end coming for you are a 
tyrant who enjoys bloodshed. I do not think that you will ever be able to gather as 
many troops as Heraclius did at al-Yarmuk or at Ajnadayn. These are such people 
whom God helps against us. Fear God and do not run to your own death. 



Yuqannd : You praise these 'Arabs so much. I am not like those whom they had 
previously encountered and whom you have mentioned. Do not dare compare me to 
them! I know that all the cities about whom you speak surrendered, whether forcibly 
or peacefully, but in either case they had no excuse and did not strive to their full 
extent. For some time now I have been gathering much wealth to save myself from 
all harm and will gather a great force to fight the 'Arabs. If the Cross grants me 
victory over them and Christ helps me against them I will chase them all the way 
back to al-Hijaz and will become the leading king. When I return to Syria Heraclius 
will have no power against me. If the 'Arabs defeat me then I will take refuge in my 
great fort. I have prepared provisions and food which will last me for the rest of my 
life. I will stay here and rule with honour until the end of my days. I will not stretch 
my hand towards the 'Arabs nor will I spend any money wastefully. Do not oppose 
me concerning the 'Arabs nor call me to surrender for then I will fight you before I 
fight them. 

The Devil thus captured his heart and made his view appealing to him. Yuhanna then 
said, "It is forbidden for me to speak to you until you do as I say." 

He then left angrily. 

In the morning, Yuqanna gathered all those Armenians, Christian 'Arabs etc. who 
had fled to him and joined his service. He armed whoever wanted weapons and 
distributed money amongst them. He began to belittle the 'Arabs, "They are few and 
we are many more than them, and they are now divided - some are at Caesarea and 
others are going to Egypt." 

He resolved to fight Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe before the Muslims could reach him. He 
therefore appointed Caracus to defend the city while he set off with 12,000 armoured 
men and others who wore no armour. Ahead of him were his flags and crosses 
including a jewelled gold cross. He was surrounded by 1,000 youth wearing brocade 
embroidered with gold. 

19) The ambush 

Ibn Tha'labah al-Kindt narrates: 

After Abu 'Ubaydah & had conquered Qinsarin and received 'Umar's 4&> letter 
instructing him to reinforce Yazid 4&, he stayed at Qinsarin and resolved upon 
invading Aleppo. He had sent 3,000 heavily armed horsemen to Yazid 4k and 
summoned a great, strong, experienced warrior from Banu Damrah. Once this 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

warrior began fighting, he was not scared of the enemy regardless of their number. 
Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> placed him in charge of 1 ,000 reconnaisance troops and said to 
him, "O Ka'b, do not attack an army which you are powerless against. Your only duty 
is to investigate the Christians. I will be right behind you." 

Ka'b bin Damrah 4h then left for Aleppo. 

Yuqanna sent many spies ahead of him to return and report to him. They reported 
that the 'Arab cavalry was arriving to fight him. 

Yuqanna : How many are they? 

Spies : They are 100 horsemen camped six miles from your city. 

He then placed some of his men in ambush while he took the rest with him against 
the Muslims. 

Yuqanna encountered the Muslims who had halted at a river and were watering their 
horses and performing wudu. When they saw the army and the cross in front of 
Yuqanna they started shouting at each other and mounted their horses. Ka'b 4& 
estimated the enemy to be 5,000. He did not know that Yuqanna had left the rest 
behind hiding in ambush. 

Ka'b 4i> called out to the Muslims, "O helpers of Allah's Din, I estimate the enemy 
to be 5,000. Consider them to be your booty. However, each of you will have to fight 
five of them." 

"By Allah!" the Muslims responded, "Why not?" 

They charged, encouraging each other. When they neared, Yuqanna ordered his men 
to attack. The Christians charged and the two forces clashed. Both sides were 
prepared to fight to the death. The Muslims were certain of victory and of acquiring 
booty when suddenly the enemy came out of hiding and attacked from behind. 

Mas'ud bin 'Awn al-'Ajji narrates: 

I was one of the scouts sent by Abu 'Ubaydah 4» under Ka'b bin Damrah & and 
participated in the battle between the two forces. While we were engaged in combat 
they sprang their ambush on us. We had not thought that they would be hiding behind 
us when suddenly we heard the pounding of hooves behind us. Initially we had been 
certain of victory but were now certain of defeat. We were trapped in the midst of 
Disbelievers. The Muslims were divided into three groups: one turned to flee; one 
turned to face the newcomers; and one under Ka'b 4& faced Yuqanna and his men. 



Allah be praised for what the Kindah did that day. They fought so fiercely and 
gifted their lives to Allah Most High until 100 of them were martyred at a single 

(O Most Generous Allah! Accept this sinful Kindijust as You accepted these Kindts 
- translator). 

The ambushers wreaked great havoc amongst us. Ka'b & became ever more anxious 
about the Muslims fighting them. He went around the Muslims calling out, "O help 
of Allah, come down through the intercession of Muhammad. O Muslims, the 
moment of help arrives. You will be victorious." 

The Muslims gathered around him suffering many injuries. 170 seniors were killed, 
including 'Abbad bin ' Asim an-Nakha'i, Zufar bin Umm Radi, Hazim bin Shihab al- 
Muqri, Sahl bin Ashyam, Rifa'ah bin Muhsan and Ghanim bin Bard % who was 
amongst those who had participated in the Expedition of Chains and Tabuk with 
Rasulullah S and al-Yamamah with Khalid bin al-Walid <&>. 

How we regretted the loss of Suhayl. We counted forty wounds all on his front and 
not a single one on his back. Forty of the martyrs were great chiefs, but not a single 
Muslim died without first having killed several Christians. When the enemy saw 
how, despite being killed, the Muslims remained steadfast they wanted to flee. 
Yuqanna held them back, "Woe unto you! The 'Arabs are but like wolves unto you. 
If they are attacked they flee and if they are left alone they become greedy." 

Ka'b & was greatly grieved at those who had been killed under his flag. He 
dismounted, put on armour on top of the armour he already wore and tied a belt 
around his waist. He rubbed his face against the nose of his horse, Hital, and kissed 
him between the eyes. This stallion had participated in many battles with him, 
including ones with Rasulullah H. He said, "O Hital, this is your day. The outcome 
will be praiseworthy, so be firm in fighting in obedience to Allah " 

He remounted and paused in front of the ranks of the Muslims. Holding the flag in 
his hand he looked at the dead and was distressed. He waited for an army to arrive 
from Abu 'Ubaydah &> or at least some scouts, but saw no trace of any 

20) The delegation from Aleppo 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> had halted his march towards Ka'b * upon receiving a delegation 
of Aleppans. When Yuqanna had marched against the Muslims, the elders of the city 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

and the North Europeans had gathered and said, "O people, you know that the other 
Christians have surrendered to the 'Arabs. Some have even embraced their religion 
while others remain Christian under their rule. Those who have fought them have 
always lost. We propose that you go to their ruler to surrender our city and give him 
whatever he wants. If the Muslims defeat Prince Yuqanna then we will be safe and 
have no fear of their violence. If Yuqanna surrenders then we will have overtaken 
him. If he is victorious and safely returns then we will not tell him what we did." 

They reached a consensus upon that and a delegation of thirty chiefs left taking a 
different road to that which Yuqanna had taken. When they reached the Muslim camp 
they called out, "Alghawth! Alghawth!" which the 'Arabs understood to be a Greek 
request for immunity and thus they had been instructed by the Commander, 
"Whoever hears this call should not hasten to kill the caller or else he will be taken 
to task by Allah on the Day of Judgement and 'Umar <& will have nothing to do with 
the killer." 

The 'Arabs now recognised the call and brought the Aleppans before Abu 
'Ubaydah 4&. 

Khdlid 4& : Perhaps these Aleppans are seeking indemnity and wish to surrender. 

Abu 'Ubaydah *&> : May Allah make it so. If they surrender I will accept. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> was unaware of the violent battle and massacre. The Aleppans had 
arrived at night and a fire was blazing before him. They saw some Muslims standing 
in Salah while others were reciting the Quran, so they said, "This is how they triumph 
over us." 

The translator overheard them and informed Abu 'Ubaydah <&> who said, "We are a 
nation showered with divine grace. We are men who desire nothing but Allah and His 
Messenger H. We are not weak in fighting the enemy." 

After translating he asked them, "Who are you?" 

Aleppans : We are the inhabitants of Aleppo - traders and chiefs, and we have come 
to surrender. 

Abii 'Ubaydah & : How can we make peace with you when we have heard that your 
prince is adamant upon war against us and has strengthened his fort. He has filled it 
with food to last for years and has not only formed a new army but has increased it. 
So there can be no peace between us. 



Aleppans : He went ahead of us to fight you. We have nothing to do with him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& : When did he leave? 

Aleppans : He left at dawn. We left after him taking a different road. We sincerely 
hope that he will be destroyed because he is a great tyrant and will never surrender. 
He obeys his carnal lusts which can only destroy him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4<= began to fear for the reconnaisance and exclaimed, "There is no 
power to avoid evil and no ability to do good except through Allah, the Most High, 
the Most Mighty. By Allah! Ka'b and his men are destroyed. Verily we belong to 
Allah and to Him do we return!" 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* bowed his head. 

The Aleppans said to one of their elders, "Speak to him about our peace." 

When he did this, Abu 'Ubaydah 4* shouted, "There can be no peace with you!" 

The elders feared for their lives and said, "The village and country folk have all taken 
refuge in our city. After surrendering we can help you to populate these lands and will 
even help you with the construction of buildings. We will live under your shadow for 
as long as you are just. If you refuse then the people will flee to the ends of the lands, 
spreading the news that you do not accept peaceful surrender. Not a single soul will 
then remain to populate your territories." 

21) Terms of surrender 

After the translation, Abu 'Ubaydah 4* merely stared at them. A red-faced man who 
was a sage of the Romans began shouting. He came forward and said in fluent 
'Arabic, "O commander, listen to these words which God revealed in the scriptures 
to the Prophets..." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> '■ We will listen. If it is true, then teach it to us. If it is not, then we 
will neither listen nor will we practise it. 

Didah the sage : O commander, God has revealed this to His Prophets, "I am the 
Merciful Lord. I created mercy and placed it in the hearts of the Believers. I have no 
mercy for him who shows no mercy. I do good to him who does good. I exceed the 
limits with him who exceeds the limits. I forgive him who forgives. He who seeks 
Me will find Me. If someone helps a troubled person, I will grant him safety on the 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Day of Judgement, expand his sustenance, bless his age, increase his family and help 
him against his enemy. He who thanks his benefactor in reality thanks Me." 

So now we have come here, troubled and filled with fear. Forgive our mistakes, grant 
safety to our citizens and be good unto us. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & wept and recited: 

Verliy Allah loves those who do good. [2:195] 

He then said, "O Allah, convey salutations to Muhammad and the Muslims. By 
Allah! It is with this that He sent our Prophet. He sent him for the entire creation. 
Praise be to Allah for guiding us." 

He then turned to the Muslims who included the chiefs of the Muhajirin and the 
Ansar and said, "Praise be to Allah for guiding us. These traders and villagers are 
oppressed people. We should be kind unto them, accept their surrender and gladden 
their hearts. Once the city is in our hands the traders can supply us with fodder and 
inform us as to enemy actions and be helpful unto us." 

Muslims : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. The city is close to the 
fort. We have no guarantee that they will not spy out our weaknesses and report all 
our conditions to the enemy. It may be that these people intend tricking us. After all, 
their prince is out fighting us. How can they really be offering to surrender?" 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : Keep good thoughts about Allah and rely upon Him. Allah will 
not hand us over to the enemy. May Allah have mercy on the man who either speaks 
good or remains quiet. I will impose such terms which will benefit the Muslims. 

He then turned to the Aleppans and said, "Your terms of surrender will be the same 
as that of Qinsarin." 

Aleppans : O commander, Qinsarin is more ancient and has a larger population. 
Furthermore, many citizens fled due to the prince's tyranny. He has confiscated our 
wealth and grains and stored it all in his fort. None except the poor remain amongst 
us. We ask you to be kind unto us. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> : Then what can you offer? 



Aleppans : Half of what Qinsarin gave you. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4e> : I accept on the condition that when we come against your prince 
you will supply us with food and fodder. You will come to buy and sell in our camp 
and will not hide your bread. You will inform us about our enemy and will not let any 
spy remain amongst us to spy upon us. If your prince comes fleeing to you, you will 
prevent him from reaching the fort. 

Aleppans : O commander, as for preventing him from entering the fort, we cannot 
promise that which we cannot do. We have no power against him and his armies. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> : Very well, but you will have to take strong oaths in the Name of 
Allah to fulfil all the other terms. 

They all took the oaths he demanded and entered into the pact to include all the men, 
animals, children, women, slaves and all their households. 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^> : You have taken oaths and we have accepted your word. If we find 
out that any of you have broken the terms or had information about your prince and 
did not inform us then we will kill him and take all his wealth and children and Allah 
will not hold us accountable. If you break these terms then the treaty is cancelled and 
we have no responsibility towards you. As from the coming year, you will start to pay 
the Jizyah. 

Sa'd bin 'Amir at-Tanflfi narrates: 

The Aleppans were happy with Abu 'Ubaydah's terms. They agreed and their names 
were taken down. After they intended departing Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe> said, "Be at ease. 
I will send men to escort you because now it has become compulsory upon us to 
protect you until you return safely to your city." 

"O commander," replied Dahdah, "We will take the same path as we originally took. 
We do not need anyone to accompany us." 

He let them go and spent the rest of the night worrying about Ka'b <&. 

22) Allah saves the Muslims 

The delegation entered Aleppo after sunrise. One of the prince's men asked them, 
"From where are you coming? What are you doing?" 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Thinking him to be one of them they informed him of the treaty. He left them and the 
citizens came out to welcome the delegation and questioned them. The delegates told 
them about the treaty and they rejoiced. 

The man went to the prince. He was surrounding the Sahabah & and thought that he 
had them under control. He was waiting for later that morning to attack them when 
his man arrived and said, "O prince, you do not know what is happening between you 
and your people." 

Yuqannd : Woe unto you! What is it? 

Informant : They have surrendered to the 'Arabs. They might seize the fort and loot 
its wealth and women. 

Upon hearing this Yuqanna feared the loss of his fort and abandoned all thought of 
killing the remaining Muslims. He had already killed more than 200. 

Ka'b 4b had fought hard and was fearing that their destruction was at hand. He 

I was the commander at that battle and kept the men steady. Through my will-power 
I encouraged them to fight and made every effort in their defence. I was wounded 
and would have been overcome in battle so I took refuge with my men. I was still 
hoping for help from Allah Most High and looked out for Abu 'Ubaydah's <& flag, 
but that hope became ever more dim. 

The battle lasted for a day and night until the morning of the second day. By Allah! 
None of us even had the opportunity to perform Salah, eat anything or drink a drop 
of water. I was wavering between hope and despair. I watched the Qinsarin road, 
looking out for the flag of Islam, but there was no sign of it. 

In the morning I saw some excitement at the ends of the enemy army. There was 
some commotion, so I said, "This can only mean that reinforcements have arrived 
from their city or Caesar." I then began reciting that which should be recited at the 
time of difficulty, "There is no ability to avoid evil or power to do good except 
through Allah, Most High, Most Mighty." 

I swear that I had hardly finished these words when I saw the enemy withdrawing. I 
shouted "All praise be to Allah! The praise of the grateful ones!" 



I thought that a voice must have shouted at them from the sky to scatter them or that 
angels had come down upon them just as they had done at Badr, but there remained 
no trace of them. 

I wanted to chase them but the Muslims called out, "O Ka'b, where are you going? 
Are you not satisfied with what we went through? Stay here and be satisfied. We have 
suffered much, are tired and must still perform our Salah. Our horses have to rest. It 
is only through the will of Allah that they returned." 

The Muslims stayed, drank water, performed wudfl and performed those salawat 
which they had missed. They then ate and rested. 

23) Yuqanna's revenge 

No new news of Ka'b & had reached Abu 'Ubaydah <&>. After leading the Salatul Fajr 
he turned to the Muslims and addressed Khalid <&>, "O Abu Sulayman, your brother, 
Abu 'Ubaydah, did not sleep last night out of grief. While we have to be thankful for 
the conquests which Allah has granted us, I fear that Ka'b's party has been 
massacred because the delegates told me that their prince has set out against them. I 
see no trace of them so I think that he must have met and killed all of them." 

Khalid <&>: By Allah! I too could not sleep out of grief for them. What have you 
decided to do? 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^: We march. 

He then issued the order and the Muslims began marching against Aleppo. Khalid <&> 
led the vanguard and Abu 'Ubaydah *#& led the rearguard. In a short while they came 
across the Muslims who were all sleeping. When the watchmen saw Khalid &> 
raising the flag above his head he did not recognise him and called out, "To arms, O 
helpers of Allah's Din!" 

The Muslims jumped out of their sleep like sleeping lions and mounted their horses. 
They charged ahead, but upon recognising the flag-bearer, exclaimed, "By Allah! 
This is the flag of Islam and the Muslims." 

Khalid 4fe dismounted and made salam to them. By that time the rearguard had also 
arrived. When Abu 'Ubaydah <$> saw Ka'b * he praised Allah. Then when he and 
the Muslims saw all the martyrs lying on the ground their joy turned to grief and they 
exclaimed, "There is no ability to avoid evil and no power to do good except through 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty. Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b asked Ka'b &, "How were your men killed and who killed them?" 

Ka'b * informed him about Yuqanna's coming with his men until the Muslims could 
not even move. He then said, "We slept at night and then in the morning they just 
started shouting and left without a fight." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : The Causer of all causes is sufficient for us. If only Abu 'Ubaydah 
was killed instead of them and they were not killed under his flag. 

He had the martyrs gathered in groups, prayed their Salatul Janazah and buried them 
with their weapons and blood. He then said, "I have heard Rasulullah S saying - 
"On the day of Judgement Allah will resurrect the martyrs killed in His Path with 
their blood on their bodies. The colour will be that of blood, but the smell will be that 
of musk. Light will glitter on them as they enter Jannah." 

As he gazed at the martyrs lying in their still open graves, he said to Khalid <&, "If 
Allah's enemy, Yuqanna, reaches Aleppo and learns about the treaty he will 
severely punish them. I will go to them because it is our responsibility to defend them 
now that they are our subjects." 

He departed and upon reaching Aleppo found Yuqanna besieging the people, 
intending to massacre them. The army had shouted, "Woe unto you! You surrendered 
to the 'Arabs and became helpers to them against us." 

Aleppans : We did that because they are always victorious. 

Yuqanna : Woe unto you! Christ is not pleased with what you have done. By Christ! 
I will massacre you all unless you come out and join me in fighting against them and 
break your treaty with them. Tell me now who initiated this treaty so that I can kill 
him first. 

When they refused to obey him he said to his slaves, "Bring the following people for 
me to kill. My man met them and informed me who they were." 

The slaves entered the city and began to kill the delegates in their beds and at the 
doors of their homes. 



24) I die as a Muslim 

Yuhanna who was in the fort heard the uproar and saw that his brother had started a 
massacre. 300 had already been killed. He came out and shouted, "Easy! Do not do 
this. Verily Christ will be angry with you. He forbade us from killing our enemies so 
how can we kill our own co-religionists?" 

Yuqannd : They surrendered our city to the 'Arabs and helped them against us. 

Yuhanna : By Christ! The 'Arabs will never leave you and will take revenge against 

Yuqannd : Ha! Who is there that can take revenge against me? 

Yuhanna : Christ will slay you just as you have slayed these innocents. 

Yuqannd : Really? Well you were the one to lead them to this so now I will start with 

He grabbed his brother and unsheathed his sword. When the monk saw the drawn 
sword he knew that his end was coming so he raised his head to the sky and 
proclaimed, "O Allah, be my witness that I die as a Muslim, opposed to the religion 
of these people. I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad 
is His Messenger." 

Turning to the prince he said, "Do as you please. Once you have killed me I will be 
entering gardens of bliss." 

Yuqanna, already infuriated at his people's surrender and fearing the Muslim arrival, 
there and then killed Yuhanna. 

Yuqanna then turned to the Aleppans who were praying for help which was not 
forthcoming. They begged him for mercy but received no reply. He continued the 
massacre and their screams became ever louder. They were surrounded on all sides. 
When they had lost all hope help finally arrived - they saw the flags of the Muslims 

Led by Khalid <&>, the Muslims proclaimed the Oneness of Allah. When he heard the 
commotion and weeping he said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4^>, "By Allah! As you have said 
the people under your responsibility have been destroyed." 

He then called for his horse and flag-bearers and shouted, "O Disbelievers, leave our 
subjects alone" and attacked with the Muslims, working the sword amongst the 
enemy. Yuqanna thereupon fled with his generals to the fort. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Muhsan bin 'Atrah narrates: 

Allah relieved the people of Aleppo by killing the disbelieving soldiers. Those who 
made it to the fort were saved but those who fled elsewhere were killed. Yuqanna had 
massacred more than 300 of those who had surrendered to us while we killed more 
than 3,000 of his men. This was an amazing event which gladdened the Muslims. 
After we had killed the enemies and saved the Aleppans they narrated to Abu 
'Ubaydah <$fc how Yuqanna had martyred his brother. 

When the Muslims came, Yuqanna and his men took refuge in the fort and prepared 
for a siege. He erected catapults and distributed much equipment for the siege and 
arranged much weaponry at the walls. 

In the meantime the Aleppans brought forty generals to the Muslims. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : Why have you captured these people? 

Aleppans : They are Yuqanna's men who fled to us. We did not want to hide them 
because they are not of us and are not included in the treaty. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> offered them Islam, but only seven accepted. He had the rest 
beheaded and said to the Aleppans, "You have acted in good faith with regards to 
your side of the deal. Soon you will see from us that which will gladden you. You 
will join us in benefits and duties. Your prince has taken refuge in the fort. Do you 
know of any flaw in it so that we may reach it to fight him? If Allah grants us victory 
we will give you a share of the booty as a reward for your good deed." 

Aleppans : O commander, by God! We know of no flaw in it. Yuqanna has cut off all 
roads and entrances to it. This is all we know. If he had not killed Yuhanna then it 
would have been easy to take the fort. 

Abii 'Ubaydah «&: What happened to him? 

They told him what his brother had done to him and that he had declared his Islam 
after raising his head to the sky. They said, "We did not hear everything that he said, 
but we did hear him saying - O Allah, I bear witness that there is no deity except You; 
that Tsa is Your slave and Messenger; and that Muhammad is your slave and 
Messenger through whom the line of prophethood ended. You made him the chief of 
all Messengers and there is no religion higher than his. So do as you please, O 
Yuqanna. - So when he became a Muslim, Yuqanna killed him." 

Abu 'Ubaydah *&: Where did he kill him? 



They took him, Khalid 4* and a group of Muslims to the high part of the market. 
There they found Yuhanna lying on his back, his finger still pointing to the sky, his 
face resembling a full moon. Abu 'Ubaydah *& took the body, covered it in cloth, 
prayed over it and buried it at Abraham's Place. 

25) Attack on the fort 

A Muslim came and said, "May Allan keep the commander in a good state. Look at 
these people. If they were really on our side they would have shown us the weak 
points of the enemy. By Allah! They will never do that." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& turned to the Muslims and said, "Express your views, may Allah 
have mercy upon you." 

Yunus bin 'Amr al-Ghassani who knew Syria, her mountains, cities and roads well, 
said, "May Allah keep the commander in a good state. Observe what I know of this 
land and hear my opinion." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4t>: Speak, Ibn 'Amr, for we regard you to be a well-wisher of the 

Yunus : Allah has conquered Syria through you - her soft land, her hard land, her 
mountains and her rough terrain. The leaders and defenders of disbelief have been 
killed. The remainder of their armies are behind the mountain passes which are rough 
and forbidding. The enemy is terrified due to the extermination inflicted upon them 
by Allah. They no longer have any heart to fight the Muslims. So besiege this fort 
and raid the rest of the land with cavalry expeditions right up to the Euphrates River. 
These people have no provisions to withstand us. 

Khdlid4e> (smiling) : What an excellent idea. I wish to add something, let us attack 
the fort, Perhaps Allah will grant us an immediate victory. I fear that the Roman 
armies will attack us from another direction if we stay here too long and thus cut us 
off from the fort. 

Abu 'Ubaydah ^ : O Abu Sulayman, you expressed a view and expressed it well. 
You spoke and spoke the truth. 

He then ordered an attack on the fort. The horsemen dismounted and stripped off 
their excess clothing. Chiefs and slaves mixed. Each tribe began vying with each 
other and as the clans spread out they called to each other with poems and by 
mentioning their lineage. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Masruq bin Malik narrates: 

By Allah! I never witnessed an attack on any Syrian fort greater than the attack on 
Aleppo's fort. Our attack was like a spinning windmill, killing with its rotation. In 
the first assault the warriors of Yaman and the chiefs of Rabi'ah and Mudar advanced 
one after the other. They attacked from a point where there was not even a road 
leading to it. As soon as they came near, the enemy opened fire with catapults and 
other weaponry. My companions and I were the closest, so we took fright and ran 
back, pushing each other out of the way, not thinking that any of us would survive. 
Defeat set in amongst the Muslims and many of us were shattered by the rocks. Some 
were killed by the rocks and others wounded. Amongst those killed at the siege of the 
fort were: 'Amir bin al-Asla' ar-Raba'i, Malik bin Khaz'al ar-Raba'i, Hassan bin 
Hazhalah, Marwan bin 'Abdillah, Sulayman bin Farigh al-'Amiri, 'Attaf bin Salim 
al-Kilabl, Suraqah bin Muslim bin 'Awf al-'Adawi, Yamanis of the family of 'Amir 
and Banu Kilab and others and seven from Banu 'Abdillah. Years later we would still 
see men who were crippled from that incident. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» raised his flag outside the city and called the Muslims to him. He 
said, "O people, you have fought outstandingly today. Now bury the martyrs and 
bandage your wounds." 

The Muslims started doing that while the enemy rejoiced at the Muslim defeat. 
Yuqanna said, "The Muslims will never come to the fort after today. If the siege 
continues then I will go and trick them." 

26) The night raid 

'Abdullah bin Sulayman ad-Dinuri who narrates the conquest of Syria from 
reliable Muslims says: 'Amr narrated to me: 

Yuqanna selected 2,000 of his elite soldiers and said to them, "Go and hastily attack 
the edge of their camp when their fires are extinguished. Defend each other and 
plunder them." 

He appointed his chief minister over them. 

They left at night, circling the Muslims until they reached their destination. The 
Muslim Bedouin of Yaman such as the Murad, Kilab and their slaves had 
extinguished their fires. 



'Abdullah bin Safwan al-Bakki narrates: 

That night we were unarmed. We were complacent due to our numbers and had set 
no guard. Before we knew it, the enemy fully decorated in all their pomp, was 
attacking us. They shouted things in their language which we did not understand. 
They began striking us with their swords. The fortunate ones amongst us mounted 
their horses to seek safety, but did not know where to go or how to escape. The 
Muslims were brought to the ground and the call was raised, "To arms! To arms! By 
the Rabb of the Ka'bah! We have been hit." 

The Muslims rushed to Abu 'Ubaydah's 4& tent calling, "O commander, Yuqanna has 
taken us by surprise." 

Abu 'Ubaydah «&> mounted and went with some men around the camp. When the 
enemy commander saw the 'Arabs about to encounter him, he shouted to his men, 
"Whoever has taken anything should leave it and save himself." 

They had taken about fifty of our men, mostly of Rabi'ah and Mudar. They gathered 
and left for the fort. Khalid 4&> and his men charged at them, cutting off about 100 of 
them and killing them all. When they reached the fort, Yuqanna opened the gate and 
they entered. 

After sunrise Yuqanna called the fifty Muslim prisoners who were tied with ropes. 
He positioned them so that the Muslims could see them and hear them reciting, "La 
ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah S!" until he had killed every last one of them. 

When Abu 'Ubaydah 4& saw that he ordered the announcer to proclaim, "On behalf 
of Allah and His Rasul, and as a command of the commander, Abu 'Ubaydah, no man 
will entrust his guard duty to anyone else. Every man will have to guard himself. No- 
one should speak to anyone else." 

Everyone took their gear and went on guard. 

Yuqanna turned his attention to his next scheme. Despite the Muslim siege, his spies 
still managed to get to him and keep him informed, day and night. His best spies were 
Christian 'Arabs because they were fluent in Greek as well. He was sitting in his fort 
surrounded by his generals. They were feeling the pinch of the siege which was made 
worse by the fact that the Aleppans would immediately seize any of the Yuqanna's 
men upon seeing them and hand them over to the Muslims. A spy then arrived and 
said, "O prince, this is the right time to trick the 'Arabs." 

Yuqanna : How is that? 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Spy : They have gone to the Batnan Valley which has entered into a treaty with them 
and has agreed to supply them with fodder and provisions. I have now seen a Muslim 
party heading for the village with camels and mules. They are wearing only their 
shirts and carrying only their spears with them. They are few, not all that many. 

27) The second raid 

Yuqanna selected 1,000 men and said, "Get ready. By Christ! I will make travel 
difficult for the 'Arabs and cut off their roads." 

At nightfall he opened the gate for them. The spy led them until they reached the 
main road. They continued under the cover of night until they came across a cowherd 
returning his herd to the town. When they saw the cowherd who was travelling 
strenuously they rushed to him and said, "Did any 'Arabs cross your path?" 

Cowherd : Yes. At sunset 100 horsemen came rushing past and had with them camels 
and mules. They were seeking provisions from those under their rule in this valley, 
but we do not fear them. 

Commander : You have been kind enough to tell us about this valley's alliance which 
we did not know about. Now, in the name of Christ, tell us in which direction they 

The cowherd pointed to the east and said, "That way." 

The officer continued with his men, unaware that the cowherd was following them. 

In the morning they saw the Muslims under the command of Munawish. When 
Munawish saw the enemy cavalry he called out, "O sons of 'Arabs, this is a Roman 
general. Beware of him and be firm in Jihad. Practise patience under difficulty to 
attain Jannah." 

The Muslims charged as did the Christians and an intense battle ensued. Thirty 
Muslims, all of them from the Tayy tribe, were martyred. These included Munawish 
bin ad-Dahak, al-Ghatrlf bin Thabit, Man!' bin Thabit, Mani' bin 'Asim and Kuhlan 
bin Murrah.The rest fled leaving the enemy to seize the camels and booty. 

The enemy commander said, "Take the load off some of the animals and cut their 
legs. Bring the rest with their loads because it will be provision for us. Head for the 
mountains and hide from the spies of the 'Arabs or else they will be here this very 



moment with horses coming like a wind to defeat you. So hide until nightfall when 
we can return to the protection of the fort." 

They killed the camels and took the mules. They hid in a village in the mountain for 
the rest of the day, waiting for the cover of night to return to the fort. A watchman 
was appointed. 

'Awf bin Sabbah at-Tai narrates: 

I was amongst the horsemen when my paternal uncle, Munawish, was killed. We 
were few and were attacked by surprise. After weighing our small numbers against 
their great numbers and fierceness, we saved ourselves and went to the Muslim 
camp. Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> rushed to us and asked, "What has happened?" 

"War and death," we replied. "Munawish and many others were killed. Our 
provisions and beasts were taken." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4s> : What could have befallen you when Allah has encircled the 
Romans and none can come out? 

Muslims : We do not know except that we saw a great patrician come against us in 
good gear and with many horsemen prepared for battle. We do not know their 
numbers, nor where they came from. They attacked us during our journey. They 
killed our commander and others and took our beasts and provisions. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & called Khalid <&> and said, "O Abu Sulayman, you are the man for 
this job. I place my reliance first upon Allah, then upon you and I seek goodness from 
Allah in all my affairs. Go with Allah's blessings and take whoever you like from the 
Muslims. Go where the incident took place and follow their trail, perhaps Allah will 
let us catch them. Seek them out wherever they may be and avenge the Muslims. 
Remember that the people of the valley have a treaty with us so we should not be the 
ones to break our word. However, if they have betrayed us then we will fight them, 
so fear Allali with regards to their rights. Now go. May Allah have mercy on you." 

Khalid <& rushed to his tent and took his arms. He then mounted his horse, intending 
to leave alone. Abu 'Ubaydah & called out,"Where are you going to, Abu 

Khalid *&•: To where you have ordered me to go. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & : Take any Muslims whom you would like to accompany you. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Khalid ^> : I am going alone. I do not want anyone with me. 
Abu 'Ubaydah *&> : How can you go alone when your enemies are so many? 
Khalid 4* : Whether they are 1,000 or 2,000, 1 will challenge them with Allah's help. 
Abu 'Ubaydah *&> : You are like that, but still, take some men with you. 

28) Khalid's <*> revenge 

Khalid <&> eventually agreed to take Dirar ^ and others like him. When they reached 
the battle site they saw the dead Muslims lying all around. They were surrounded by 
the people of the valley who were weeping out of fear that the Arabs would take them 
to account for the incident and take vengeance upon them and their children. So 
when the Muslims arrived they screamed and threw themselves in front of Khalid <&. 

Khalid *& : Who killed our men? 

Christians : We are innocent of the blood of your men. We are at peace with you. 

Khalid 4» made them swear that they had no knowledge of who had killed them and 
they all swore. 

Khalid &> : Then who could have attacked them? 

Man : A general whom Yuqanna had sent with 1,000 of his fiercest warriors. They 
have spies in your army who inform them about you at all times. 

Khalid 4* : Which road did they take? 

Man : This road. 

Khalid 4& : Did you not swear to me that you had no knowledge of them? 

Christian : He who informs you is not of us. He is an Aleppan who had come to buy 
food. We had no information to give you. 

Khalid 4* : So they took this road? 

Aleppan man : Yes, I saw them heading for the mountains. 

Khalid 4b then said to his men, "They realised that we would come after them so they 
must have gone from the road to hide until night-time and then return to their fort. 
Let us go after them." 



Taking some Christian guides with them, the Muslims continued the pursuit. When 
they reached the road, Khalid 4b asked one of the Christians, "Is there any other road 
which they can take back to the fort?" 

"Yes," replied the Christian, "but they will still have to pass by here. If you stay here 
you will be successful, God-willing." 

So they dismounted in the valley and hid, watching the road. 

Not much of the night had passed when the sound of pounding hooves was heard. 
The patrician was at the head of his men, encouraging them. When half of them had 
passed by, Khalid 4b shouted like a lion and led his men out against them. He thought 
that the patrician might be Yuqanna himself, so he aimed for him and cut him into 
two pieces with a single blow. The Muslims hacked them down with their swords 
until none survived except those for whom Allah had willed that their life-spans 
should be extended. 

The Muslims gathered all the booty, spiked the patrician's head on a spear point and 
took it to Abu 'Ubaydah 4b, whom they found to be eagerly awaiting them. As Khalid 
<ie> arrived with all the booty, prisoners and mules his men called out, "La ilaha 
Ulallah! Allahu Akbar!" to which the Muslims in the camp responded in a like 

There were 700 decapitated heads while more than 300 prisoners were taken. They 
were offered Islam, but refused and said, "We will pay ransom." 

"We will strike your necks to terrorise Allah's enemy," retorted Khalid 4b who 
proved true to his word. He then said, "We thought that we had them tightly besieged, 
but that is not so. They merely wait until we are neglectful and then they come 
raiding. They killed our camels and mules, so it is only proper that we post tight 
security on every road so that we may pass through while they are trapped in the fort. 
We should make life as difficult as possible for them." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4b : May Allah reward you well, Abu Sulayman. What excellent 
insight you have. 

After leading the Mulsims the next day in Salatul Fajr, Abu 'Ubaydah 4b called 
'Abdurahman bin Abi Bakr, Dirar 4b, Sa'id bin Zayd bin 'Amr bin Nufayl, Qays bin 
Hubayrah and Maysarah bin Masruq. He ordered each one to guard a separate spot 
with men of his own choice and to cut off all roads to Yuqanna to the extent that if 
even a bird flew over they should cage it. They did this, but as time passed slowly, 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> became exasperated. He ordered the Muslims to withdraw so that 
they could return and attack once the enemy had lowered its guard. 

29) The spy 

The Muslims withdrew to a nearby village, an-Nirab, but Yuqanna showed no sign 
of opening the gate and coming out. Abu 'Ubaydah j&> became extremely worried 
and said to Khalid 4&, "O Abu Sulayman, the spies of Allah's enemy go and warn 
him. Go around the camp and investigate. Perhaps you will discover a spy." 

Khalid ^mounted his horse and ordered that any stranger should be caught. As he 
patrolled he came across a Christian 'Arab who carried a cloak and kissed it. When 
he saw Khalid <& his blood curdled 

Khalid 4& : From which nation are you? 

Ghassdni : Yaman. 

Khalid 4i> '■ From which tribe? 

The Ghassani intended mentioning another tribe, but the truth slipped from his 
tongue, "I am of Ghassan." 

Khalid^ : O enemy of Allah, you are the spy for our enemy! 

Ghassdni : I am not a Christian. I am a Muslim. 

Khalid <& took him to Abu 'Ubaydah <$> and said, "O commander, I doubt him. I have 
never seen him before today and he says that he is of Ghassan. He is certainly a cross- 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc : Test him. 

Khalid *&: With what? 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> '■ With the Quran and Salah. If he cannot answer you then he is not 
a Muslim. 

Khalid <& : Right. Pray two rak'at and recite loudly in both of them. 

When the Ghassani could not, Khalid *$> shouted, "O enemy of Allah, you are a spy 
against us." 



Upon further questioning he confessed that he was a spy. 

Khdlid <& : Are you alone? 

Ghassdni : No, I am one of three. The other two have gone to the fort to inform 
Yuqanna about you. I stayed behind to see what you were doing. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4&> : What do you prefer, Islam or death? You have no other option. 

Ghassdni : I bear witness that there is no deity besides Allah and that Muhammad is 
His Messenger. 

30) 'Umar's 4fc complaint 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& returned to Aleppo where the fort remained under siege for another 
four to five months. 'Umar 4&> had not received any information from him for a 
lengthy period of time so he wrote to him: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

From : 'Umar, the slave of Allah 

To : His governor, Abu 'Ubaydah 

Saldm 'alayka 

I praise Allah besides Whom there is no other deity and I convey 
salutations upon His Prophet, Muhammad. 

O Abu 'Ubaydah! Know that because of you not sending any 
information my heart and my very body is undergoing difficulty, 
worrying about the Muslims. Day and night my heart is with 
you. When I neither receive any information nor any messenger 
from you, my mind wanders and my thoughts are confused. You 
write of neither conquest nor booty. 

O Abu 'Ubaydah! Know that I may be physically absent from 
you, but my thoughts are constantly with you and I continuously 
make du 'a for you. My anxiety for you is like an affectionate 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

mother s towards her baby. Please act as a helper of Islam and 
the Muslims when you receive my letter. 

Wassalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakdtuhu. 

He then sent the letter. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4fr read out the letter to the Muslims and said, "0 Muslims, when the 
Commander of the Believers is making du'a for you and is pleased with you then 
Allah will help you." He then wrote the following reply: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

To : The Commander of the Believers, Abu 'Abdilldh 'Umar bin 

From : His governor over Syria, Abu 'Ubaydah 

Saldm 'alayka 

I praise Allah Most High and convey salutations upon His 

O Commander of the Believers! Allah Most High to Whom all 
praise belongs conquered Qinsarin at our hands after which we 
raided al-'Awdsim. Allah then granted us Aleppo by treaty. 
However, the fort which holds many men under the prince, 
Yuqannd, still defies us. He has tricked us several times. 

(He then mentioned the whole incident of Yuhanna.) 

He killed many of our men whom Allah blessed with martyrdom 
at his hands. 

(He then mentioned the ambush massacre.) 

We then intended to deceive him, but failed. I now intend lifting 
the siege and going to the land between Aleppo and Antioch. I 
await your reply. 



He sent the letter with 'Abdullah bin Qurt 4& and Ja'dah bin Jubayr 4fe. 

The two took the al-'Atiqah road and travelled hard until they had crossed the land 
of al-Jaffar to Sakasikah which is an 'Arab fort close to Tima. A horseman was 
spotted who was wearing full armour and a glittering helmet. He held his spear as if 
he had either just come from combat or was about to engage in combat. When he saw 
them he came towards them. 

Ibn Qurt & '■ Do you see this horseman coming towards us in this place and 

Ja 'dah & : Why should we fear any 'Arab horseman when there is nobody in this 
region who lifts a spear or ties a bow except that he has entered under our rule and 

The horseman appeared, made salam, and asked, "Where are you two coming from 
and where are you going to?" 

"We are messengers from the general, Abu 'Ubaydah, to the Commander of the 
Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattab - may Allah be pleased with him," they replied, "and 
who are you?" 

Horseman : I am Hilal bin Badr at-Tai. 

Messengers : Why do we see you carrying weapons? 

Hilal : I have come with some of my people to wage Jihad in Syria due to a letter we 
had received from 'Umar 4b. When I saw the two of you at the bottom of the valley 
I headed towards you. My people are coming behind me. 

Hilal then made salam to them and departed. He saw his people's caravan of camels 
coming in a line until they met up with him. When he told them about the two 
Sahabah they were pleased and continued towards Syria. 

31) Yamani reinforcements 

Ibn Qurt 4& and Ja'dah 4& reached al-Madinah. They entered the Masjid, made salam 
to 'Umar 4t> and the Muslims and gave him the letter. Upon reading it he rejoiced and 
lifting his palms to the sky, saying, "O Allah, save the people from the evil of every 
evil one." 

He then ordered the herald to announce, "Congregational prayer!" 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

After they had gathered he read the letter out to them. The men of Hadramawt and 
the ends of Yaman such as Hamdan, Madan, Saba and Marib then came to him, 
requesting that he send them to Syria. 

'Umar & : How many are you? May Allah bless you. 

Yamanis : We are 400 horsemen; 300 riding two per camel and many who have no 
mounts and have to walk Do you have mounts for us so that we may reach the 

'Umar 4&> : How many of you are walking? 

Yamanis : 140. 

'Umar 4&> : 'Arabs or slaves? 

Yamanis : 'Arabs and slaves whom their masters have permitted to travel and partake 
in Jihad against the enemy 

'Umar 4e> then called his son, 'Abdullah * and said, "Get seventy camels given in 
charity for these people so that they may ride them and load their provisions upon 

'Abdullah & hastened to comply and gave them the seventy camels, saying, "Strive 
to reach your brothers and hasten to the enemy." 

'Umar 4& then wrote to Abu 'Ubaydah 4*>: 

Your messengers have brought me your letter. I am happy at 
both the victories and the martyrdom which has been obtained. 
Your desire to withdraw to the land between Aleppo andAntioch 
away from the fort is not correct. If you leave such a man whose 
lands are close and whose city you rule then he will spread the 
news in all directions that you could not overcome him and then 
your reputation will weaken. His prestige will rise and enemies 
will entertain hopes against you. The armies of Rome will 
become bold against you - their elite and their commoners. 
Kings will send spies to him and correspond with each other 
against you. So beware of abandoning your struggle until either 



Allah kills him, or if Allah wills he surrenders or Allah decides 
something else and He is the best decision maker. 

Send horsemen to the soft-lands, the rough-lands, the spacious 
lands, the mountain-tops and valleys. Send raiding expeditions 
to the ends of the deserts. 

Accept the surrender of whoever wishes to surrender. Grant 
safety to whoever requests it. Allah is my Overseer over you and 
the Muslims. 

I am sending this letter to you together with a group of men from 
Hadramawt and other places and the chiefs ofYaman who have 
dedicated their lives to the Path of Allah. They are eager for 
Jihad. They include both 'Arabs and slaves and both cavalry 
and infantry. If Allah wills reinforcements will continuously be 


32) The black giant 

The reinforcements travelled hard and at the same time enquiring from Ibn Qurt 4b 
and Ja'dah about Syria. They asked about the conquests and the killing of the 
Romans as well as where the Muslims were camped. 

Ibn Qurt 4b : The Muslims and their general are besieging Aleppo's fort. There is a 
mighty Roman prince in it with many followers. They have fortified themselves 

Yamanis : Why do they not surrender as those before them have done? 

Ibn Qurt 4» : O 'Arabs, since al-Yarmuk we have not seen anyone braver than this 
man. He kills men and brings down great warriors. He attacks the ends of the camp 
at the time of Salah, kills men and plunders wealth. Once he came under the cover 
of night to seize fodder. He took mules, provisions and food and then returned to the 
fort without our knowledge. The Muslims may be besieging him, but they fear him 
and are wary of him. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Amongst those who heard him was Damis, a slave of the royal Tarif clan of the 
Kindah tribe. He was well known by both his name as well as nickname, Abu al- 
Hawl or Abu al-Ahwal (Father of terror). He was pitch black and as tall as a palm 
trunk. When he mounted a tall horse his legs would drag on the ground. When 
mounted on a tall camel his knees would reach near the camel's legs. He was a great 
strong horseman whose fame had spread, whose list of deeds increased and who was 
highly esteemed in all the cities of Kindah, the valleys of Hadramawt, the mountains 
of Muhrah and the land of trees. He used to terrify the Bedouins and loot the wealth 
of the city-dwellers (presumably this refers to the pre-Isldmic period - translator 's 
note). Fine horses were unable to race him. When the 'Arabs had eventually caught 
him in the courtyside they were astounded at his strength. 

Hearing what Yuqanna was doing to the Muslims he almost exploded with rage and 
said to Ibn Quit, "Rejoice my 'Arab Brother! By Allah! I will strive until Allah 
defeats him at my hands." 

Ibn Qurt_ 4t> ■ O son of a black woman, you have deluded yourself with the 
impossible. Woe unto you! Do you not know that all the great Muslim warriors are 
besieging him and fighting his men, but none have none able to overcome his evil. 
He has tricked and triumphed over many kings. 

Damis (angry) : By Allah! O 'Abdullah, were it not for the brotherhood of Islam 
between us I would deal with you before I deal with him. Beware of looking down 
on men. If you would like to know about me then ask from those of my people who 
are present. Ask about those deeds of mine which leave the mind confused and 
narrow the heart. Ask how many armies I have destroyed, how many forces I have 
scattered, how many caravans I have decimated, how many raids I have conducted. 
No neighbour can harm me and no defect can reach me. Through the grace of Allah 
I am an attacking horseman, not a fleeing one. 

He then stormed off to the front of the expedition. A group of 'Arabs then said to Ibn 
Quit 4fe, "O brother 'Arab, have mercy on yourself. By Allah! You have spoken to 
such a man who makes the impossible possible. He takes difficult tasks to be light. 
He is outstandingly strong and fears no man. Champion warriors do not scare him. 
In war he is at the forefront - his target cannot escape and none can beat him." 

Ibn Qurt 4& : You are exaggerating, but I do hope that Allah brings some good 
through him. 

They increased their pace until they reached Abu 'Ubaydah 4*> and the Muslims who 
were besieging the fort on all sides. When the newcomers saw the army, they took 



out their decorations, unsheathed their swords and other weapons, unfurled their 
flags and shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" simultaneously and recited salutations upon 
Rasulullah 81. The army responded with shouts of, "Allahu Akbar!" from every 
direction. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& came out to welcome them. After salam was exchanged 
each tribe went to join the camp of their fellow tribesmen in the army. 

33) Damis 's bravery 

Yuqanna had maintained a few light attacks against the Muslims at night, but never 
emerged during daylight. He stayed on the lookout for neglect amongst the Muslims. 
The new arrivals of Tay, Shanbas, Nabhan, Kindah and Hadramawt spent the night 
observing the heavy security being maintained. 

Damis Abu al-Hawl went to his people of Tarif and Kindah and said, "By Allah! You 
are not fit to be called besiegers." 

Kindah : Why is that? 

Damis : The enemy is at the top of the fort while you are here at the bottom, on the 
ground with no enemy facing you. What do you fear? 

Kindah : O Abu al-Hawl, the prince of this fort brings about evil fortune. He looks 
out for neglect on our part, attacks our camp's end and even comes to where we 
should be safe. 

Suddenly screams were heard coming from the end of the camp. Damis unsheathed 
his sword and covered himself with his shield. He set out in the direction of the 
screams and found Yuqanna attacking a group of Muslims with 500 great warriors, 
all of them fierce lions. Damis paused in the midst of the enemy and recited: 

^-JTLJ jJ-^p J_^ ^_.a_^ ^jl-~. J_L_, ^^ ^_J 

/ am Damis the father of terror 

They do I attack and knock over. 

I am a lion, a champion, a veteran 

I knock over every enemy man. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

He and a group of Banu Tarif launched an attack and Yuqanna had to retreat. 200 of 
his men were killed but Damis continued attacking and chased them right up to the 
pathway of the fort. He was followed by the Kindah. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& called out, "I forbid you from following them in the darkness of 
the night." 

They said to Damis, "O Abu al-Hawl, the commander orders us to return, so return. 
May Allah have mercy on you." 

Damis and the Kindah returned after having put up an excellent fight and the 
Muslims rejoiced. 

After the people had prayed Salatul Fajr behind Abu 'Ubaydah j&, everyone spread 
out except for a few generals who discussed the events of the previous night. 

Khdlid^> : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. I saw the Kindah putting 
up a good performance. They advanced and remained steadfast. They continued 
striking until the enemy's violence was lifted from us. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : By Allah! You have spoken the truth, Abu Sulayman. The Kindah 
made the people happy with their firmness. I heard them saying, "Damis has done 
well. Abu al-Hawl has performed excellently." 

Surdqah bin Mirdds bin Yakrub, a chief of Kindah : May Allah keep the commander 
in a good state. Damis and Abu al-Hawl are one and the same person. He is the slave 
of the Tarif clan and is part of that group which arrived yesterday. He terrifies 
champions, humiliates brave ones and disgraces opponents. No force terrifies him 
and no attack is difficult for him. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <&> : Do you hear what Suraqah says about their slave, Damis? 

Khdlid 4^. : It may be true for I have heard about his bravery before. An-Nu'man bin 
'Ashirah al-Muhri told me that Damis single-handedly attacked a party of seventy of 
the Muhrah on the coast. He was hunting them down to take revenge on behalf of his 
people. They feared him, his evil and violence so much that they fled from him, 
taking their wealth and beasts with them to the bottom of the mountains at the coast. 
He continued looking for them until he discovered where they were. He then called 
his people to help him fight them, but not a single one of them came forward. He 
knew the land well - the plains, the rough terrain, the coast and the inland regions. 
When he despaired of his people's assistance he went to his secret lair and came out 



carrying a bundle on his shoulders. His people said to him, "Where are you going to 
and what are you carrying?" 

"O people," he replied, "I am going to attack Banu ash-Sha'r and take revenge 
against them. I will expose their shame." 

The village-elders said, "We have never seen anything more strange. You know that 
there are seventy of them. How can one man go against all of them? We think that 
you are going to Jawwad." 

Jawwad was a slave-girl of Banu Hayyas of Hadramawt. She lived in Asfal, a village 
in Hadramawt. Damis was in love with her and whatever money, camels and horses 
he plundered he would give to her however great the amount might be. In fact he 
disliked giving her little. The village-elders now thought that the bundle was also for 
her. Damis said to them, "By Allah! How can you say that about me when I am a 
great warrior? You will soon see that I am true to my word." 

They left him and he went to his people's pasturage to take his mount from amongst 
the camels. He mounted, taking his shield and sword with him and placing the bundle 
under him. He travelled for the rest of the day and night. Towards the end of the night 
he reached a valley where he made his camel sit. He unloaded it, tied it and left it to 
graze. The enemy was nearby, so he hid behind two rocks in case they should 
stumble across him. 

After another day had passed and the second night arrived he reloaded the camel and 
mounted it. He continued until he spotted some fires and headed towards them. He 
made his camel sit and tied its mouth to prevent the enemy from hearing it. The 
bundle contained sheets of cloth. He took them and tied each one onto a different 
branch of an Acacia tree in such a way that they resembled men's turbans. He then 
used rocks to erect forty of the branches and dressed each with loincloths and 
reddish-purple robes. He jumped from the high ground where he had done all this 
and went to the village. 

He went around the houses, pondering over his plan. Most of the night had already 
passed. At dawn he went to the coast and shouted, "Your time is near. I am Abu al- 
Hawl. Morning has brought your destruction from land and sea. O Tarif, revenge! O 

When they heard this the men became alarmed and the women screamed. They fled 
to the mountain on the coast with Damis in hot pursuit. However, once they realised 
that he was all alone, they encouraged each other and turned to confront him, hoping 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

to overcome him. Damis attacked them, killing one man after the other. Seeing what 
great strength he had, some of them headed for the high ground in order to attack him 
from behind. He feared that they would get too close to the branches and discover his 
trick. He rushed to the branches and spoke to them as if he was speaking to real men, 
"O Kindah! O Tarif, beware! They are coming, but do not attack them. I will sacrifice 
my life for you, but if I am injured you may come out and attack them." 

The enemy looked at him and saw the cloth covered branches. In the dim light of 
dawn they really looked like men, so they withdrew to the sea. Damis then called out, 
"O my people, swear that you will not leave your stations. I suffice all of you against 

Banu Muhrah fled. Some of them put their wives on the back of their mounts with 
them, others took their children, others their slave-girls and others what furniture 
they could manage. Damis returned to the village and found only children, slaves and 
old people. He ordered the slaves to load the camels. After they loaded the camels he 
shackled them and took them all with him. He removed the cloths off the branches 
and returned with the camels and slaves to his people who were absolutely astounded 
at his feat. 

34) Damis's dream 

Abu 'Ubaydah <& then said to Suraqah, "Call your slave so that I can see and hear 

When Suraqah brought him he asked, "Are you Damis?" 

Damis : Yes, may Allah keep the commander in a good state. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : I have heard amazing things about you and believe them to be 
possible coming from a great man like you. I know that you and your people fight in 
the plains, not in the mountains and forts, yet last night you people rushed 
dangerously after the enemy. Have mercy upon yourself and beware of this prince, 

Damis : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. I raided Muhrah and took 
their wealth although their mountain is towering high, formidable, rocky and rough. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4* : I see that you are of high rank. Do you have any thoughts with 
regards to this fort? 



Ddmis : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. I had a dream when I arrived 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4& : What did you dream? May Allah show you only goodness. 

Ddmis : I dreamed that I was in a flat land looking for my people. Suddenly I came 
across them. I found them to be confused, neither going forward, nor back. I asked 
them, "O my people, what keeps you like this on the road?" 

"Do you not see the mountain at the end of the road?" they asked, "We cannot find 
any pathway or means to climb it." 

"Be calm," I replied, "Do you not see that crack in the mountain?" 

They said, "It is not possible for us to climb through." 

"Why not?" I asked. 

"Because there is a giant python there. It kills whoever passes through. It has already 
killed many men and warriors," they replied. 

"Then find a way behind it," I said. 

They said, "We cannot do that due to its massive body." 

So I left them and searched for a way, but only found a very difficult one. I plunged 
in and with great difficulty reached behind the python and killed it. I then returned to 
my people who followed me. They reached their destination with much hardship, but 
were safe from the enemy. I then awoke in a state of great happiness. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» : Good! O Damis, you saw good coming. Your dream is good news 
for the Muslims and bad news for the enemy. Now sit in your place. 

He then summoned all the chiefs and said, "Allahu Akbar! Allah has conquered and 
helped us. He has gifted us victory and defeated those who disbelieve. O Muslims, 
listen to the dream of your brother Damis, for it is a lesson to all who heed and a 
warning to all who think." 

When they came forward to listen Abu 'Ubaydah ^ stood up and said, "All praise 
be to Allah and salutations and peace be upon His Rasfll. O people, through the 
tongue of His Rasul, Muhammad, Allah Most High and Pure has promised us in His 
Book victory against our enemy and triumph in attaining our goals. Allah will never 
break His promise. I have vowed that if Allah grants me the conquest of this fort then 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

I will perform whatever good I am capable of. My heart tells me that if Allah wills 
we will triumph over this fort and its inhabitants. There is no ability to avoid evil and 
no power to do good except through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty. This I 
feel is due to this slave's dream which points to victory." 

He then grabbed Damis's forearm and said, "May Allah have mercy on you. Tell your 
brothers what you dreamt." 

Damis stood up and narrated the whole dream from beginning to end. The Muslims 
then said to Abu 'Ubaydah 4t, "O commander, we have heard and pondered over it 
but do not understand its meaning." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4$> : May Allah have mercy on you. Know that the high, lofty, 
impassable mountain between the mountain-passes and the fort is nothing other than 
the Din of Islam and the Sunnah of Muhammad. The python which was blocking the 
people and which he then attacked and killed with his sword means that Allah will 
grant relief to the Muslims through him. 

Muslims (happy) : O commander, what do you order us to do? 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» : I order you to fear Allah in open and in secret. Keep working 
against the enemy, cheerfully and patiently. Now return to your camps, may Allah 
protect you. Get yourselves, your equipment of war and whatever else you need 
ready because I am sending you first thing tomorrow morning to the enemy unless 
one of you have a differing view. I do not refrain from consulting such Muslims upon 
whose opinions I can rely. 

Muslims : May Allah guide your thoughts and grant you victory over your enemies. 
Verily he is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing, the One Who does as He pleases. 

The chiefs returned to their tents. Some sharpened their swords, some prepared their 
equipment and horses, some inspected their armour, others inspected their bows and 
arrows. The rest of the day was spent in this way. 

35) Damis's plan 

In the morning Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe called Damis and said, "O blessed boy, do you have 
a strategy against the fort?" 

Damis : O commander, it is a strong, high, impregnable fort which makes any 
attacker helpless. It withstands sieges and its people are not shy to fight. However, I 



have thought of a strategy which if Allah wills will lead to their destruction. Through 
Allah's will we will own their homes and completely uproot them. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4i> '■ O Damis, what is it? 

Ddmis : May Allah keep the Commander in a good state. You know the harm of 
spreading a secret. He who keeps his secret keeps his options open to him. 

It is said that Damis was the first to say this and it became an idiom in 'Arabic. 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4» '■ What do you advise and what do you need? 

Ddmis : I want you to lead your men in an attack against them until you are directly 
facing them so that they may become terrified at you. In this lies a strategy which I 
hope that Allah will make it succeed. There is no ability to avoid evil and no power 
to do good, except through Allah, the Most High, the Most Mighty. 

Abu 'Ubaydah & issued orders to go against the fort so the Muslims went beneath 
the fort walls, reciting, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" and brandished their 
weapons to terrify Allah's enemy. When the Romans saw the great numbers coming 
against them they became scared and Allah cast terror into their hearts. Their seniors 
began to consult each other. Some said, "We should fight them," while others said, 
"No, we should sit in the fort because they have no power against us." 

They eventually decided upon attacking from the fort. They would fling arrows and 
stones from the top of the towers. They continued this day and night and Damis 
found that his plan was failing. 

After forty-seven days Damis came to Abu 'Ubaydah <& and said, "O commander, I 
am helpless. Nothing is being achieved through my plan, but I now have a new plan 
through which I hope for victory against the enemies of Allah." 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4a : What is your plan? 

Ddmis : Give me thirty of your boldest men and order them to obey me and not to 
oppose me in what I order them to do. 

Abu 'Ubaydah <$> : I will do that. 

He then gathered thirty brave warriors and said to them, "O Muslims, I appoint 
Damis over you and order you to obey him. May Allah have mercy on you. Know 
that I have not put him over you considering him to be better in worth and lineage or 
a greater and stronger warrior. So none of you should say that I have appointed a 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

lowly slave over you. By Allah! Were it not for my duties in organising the army I 
would be the first to go with him in your group. I hope that Allah will grant you 

The thirty : May Allah keep the commander in a good state. We have no doubt that 
you honour us and know our record. Your first words were enough to affect us. We 
present ourselves to you and even if you were to appoint an uncircumcised 
disbeliever over us we would not disobey you in the least. We know you to be a well- 
wisher of the Din and a cautious man. So we hear and obey Allah, then you, then 
whomsoever you appoint over us. 

These words gladdened Abu 'Ubaydah *&>. He trusted them, thanked them and said, 
"May Allah have mercy on you. My heart tells me that Allah will conquer this fort 
through this slave because he has keen insight and knows strategy. Go and put your 
trust in Allah. You know that Rasulullah S had appointed slaves over the chiefs of 
the Muslims and the noble ones of his family. O Damis, what else do you want? 

Ddmis : Take the army immediately until you are at a distance of one Farsakh (5.5 
km) from us. Halt and order the men to make as few movements as possible. They 
should hide themselves as much as they can. Appoint reliable spies whom you know 
to be well-wishers of the Muslims. They should keep an eye on us without contacting 
us. They should have no weapons other than daggers. Once they see us engaging the 
enemy they should go and inform you and then you can come join us. They should 
be at a single place, but also slightly spread out. In that way they will be safest and 
also capable of fulfilling their task. Allah's help should be sought in all matters and 

In this way Abu 'Ubaydah ^ concluded that Damis was a sincere, far-sighted man. 
Damis then turned to his thirty men and said, "O 'Arab youth, may Allah bless you. 
Hide in one of the valleys until the army finishes marching off because at that time 
the Romans will be looking out from the top of the fort and may spot us. Each man 
should take his sword, shield and dagger and nothing else." 

Once they took what he had instructed them to take Damis put on his upper-body 
armour and put his dagger under his robe. He took his men out of the camp, all the 
while hiding their trail. When they reached a cave at the mountain he ordered them 
to enter while he sat at the entrance. 

36) Damis 's prisoners 

Abu 'Ubaydah -sfe organised his, troops and left as Damis had advised. The enemy 
watched them. They rejoiced and jeered at the Muslims. They went and told 
Yuqanna, "O Sir, open the gates so that we can kill and capture the 'Arabs." 



He forbade them and so they remained inside until evening. 

In the meantime Damis said to his men, "Who will go beneath the fort to get 
information? He must capture one of them and bring him to us so that we can 
question him." 

When none answered he said, "I see that all of you are miserly with your lives and 
hate death. I will be the sacrifice for you all. Stay and watch my stealth." 

He left them and within a short while returned with a Christian and said, "O 'Arab 
youth, question him." 

They questioned him, but could not understand his language. 

Damis said, "Do not worry" and left to return with three others but none understood 

Damis exclaimed, "May Allah curse them. How horrible their language is and how 
horrible is their pronounciation." 

He then tied them up and disappeared until half the night had elapsed. His men 
became extremely worried and said to each other, "Damis has been outwitted. He is 
either dead or captured." 

They kept on speaking about him. They decided to return to the army when Damis 
suddenly appeared, dragging a Roman behind him. The Muslims jumped at him, 
kissed him between the eyes and asked him as to his delay. They said, "O Damis, our 
hearts feared the worst and your delay was most difficult upon us." 

Damis : May Allah Most High have mercy upon you. Know that when I separated 
from you I went near to the fort walls and hid from them. They kept passing by me, 
babbling in their language. I ignored them all because I wanted someone who could 
speak 'Arabic. I had given up hope and intended to return in defeat when I heard a 
massive crash coming from the top of the fort. I went to investigate and found this 
man who had thrown himself from the fort to the bottom of the wall. I rushed to him 
and grabbed him. I brought him here, so interrogate him. 

They spoke to him, but he only spoke Greek. They saw that his forehead was open 
with wounds. Damis then said, "He must have a story behind him. I think that he was 
fleeing from them, but none of you understands what he says. However, do not 
worry. I will soon get someone who understands both his language and 'Arabic." 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

He rushed off and in a short while returned pulling a man by his turban which he had 
tied around his neck. They asked him, "Are you from the city or the fort?" 

(He was from the fort. In 'Arabic rhetoric hathf is the omission of text implied by the 
following text - translator s note) 

Ddmis : Are you a Roman or a Christian 'Arab? 

Prisoner : Christian 'Arab. 

Muslims : Can you tell us of any weak points of the fort? 

Prisoner : I do not know of any defects or of any way into the fort. Even if I knew, 
then by Christ, how can my religion permit me to tell you? 

Ddmis (angry) : Ask these four prisoners if any of them are of the city for then they 
will fall under our treaty. 

After questioning them he said, "None of them are of the city. They are all from the 
fort. I recognise them all." 

Ddmis : Now ask this other man why he threw himself from the wall. 

He questioned him and said, "He says - Prince Yuqanna is angry with the Aleppans 
for making peace with you and sent threatening messages to them. When the 'Arabs 
withdrew he came down and gathered all the chiefs, including myself, and took us to 
the fort. There he demanded such sums pf money that we could not afford. When I 
saw what was happening I threw myself down from the fort to save myself from his 
punishment. Before I knew it, you caught me. I am from the city. If you are 'Arabs 
then I am under your rule and protection. Do not violate your word by betraying me. 
If you are not 'Arabs then claim whatever ransom you want because I have just 
escaped a great torture." 

Ddmis : Tell him that we are 'Arabs and will not harm him. He should not fear. 

Damis wanted to show him how he treated enemies, so he beheaded all the Romans 
and the Christian 'Arab. He spared the Aleppan and set him free. He then took out of 
his pack a parcel wrapped in goat's skin. He unwrapped it to reveal dried bread. After 
putting the skin on his back, he said, "In the name of Allah. Seek His help and rely 
upon Him. You will hide yourselves and be resolute for I am determined to conquer 
this fort if Allah wills." 

"Go with Allah's blessings," they replied and hastily stood up. 



Damis led them and sent two men to report to Abu 'Ubaydah 4fc and to say to him, 
"Despatch the cavalry at dawn." 

37) The Muslims enter the fort 

The two left while Damis led the rest under the cover of darkness. He was crawling 
on all fours with the goat-skin on his back. Whenever he sensed anything coming he 
would gnaw on the dry bread as if he was a dog gnawing on a bone. His men would 
wait behind him, hiding behind rocks. They continued like this until they reached the 
fort walls and could hear the voices of the watchmen. Men were shouting from the 
top of the fort and security was tight. 

Damis continued roaming around the wall until he reached a quiet spot and found the 
security to be sleeping. No other enemies were close by. He then said to his men, 
"You can see how high and well-defended this fort is. There is no tactic to overcome 
the tight security and the enemy's alertness. Do any of you know of a way in which 
we can climb up and reach the centre?" 

The men replied, "O Damis, the commander appointed you over us. You know better 
than us and are braver than us. We are completely in your hands. We will not tarry in 
whatever you feel benefits the Muslims. By Allah! Our deaths and the departing of 
our souls are easier upon us than to return without accomplishing anything. So order 
us and we will hear and obey. None will delay in following you. We will not die 
except beneath the shadow of swords, obeying Allah and helping the Din of Islam." 

Damis said, "May Allah accept your virtues. May He help you against your enemies. 
If that is your intention, then stick closely together as we advance upon this place." 

They were twenty-eight men at that moment, two having gone to Abu 'Ubaydah <$>. 

Damis : Is there anyone amongst you who can climb up the fort? 

The twenty-eight : O Abu al-Hawl, who can climb without a ladder? 

Damis : Do not worry. 

He then chose seven such savage lions from amongst them who would be able to 
carry the entire tower without difficulty. He squatted and said to one of the seven, 
"Sit on my shoulders. Firmly grab the wall and sit as I am sitting." He thus ordered 
them one after the other to do this until the last one had reached the top. He ordered 
the top one to stand up straight and firmly grab the wall. They all did this, one after 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

the other, until eventually Damis himself stood up. At that point the top man could 
reach the top of the wall. He grabbed and hung onto it. He jumped up and saw the 
watchman sleeping, intoxicated with wine. He grabbed the watchman's arms and 
legs and threw him down. When the watchman reached the ground the Muslims 
stabbed him and hid the corpse. 

The top man found another two senseless guards. He slit their throats and flung them 
down. Then unwinding his turban he extended it down to his companions. One of 
them to whom Damis had given a rope now climbed up and extended the rope. The 
rest climbed up and reached the top of the wall, the last being Damis. 

Damis said, "Wait here while I go and explore." 

He reached the prince's quarters in the centre of the fort and found him sitting, 
surrounded by his officers. Yuqanna was sitting on brocade carpets, wearing a 
costume of pearls woven with gold. On his head was a jewelled head-band. They had 
pitchers of wine in front of them and frankincense and musk wafted in the air. 

Damis returned to his men and said, "They are many and should we attack them we 
would have no guarantee of coming back safely. We shall wait until dawn. We will 
then attack Yuqanna and his officers with our swords. If we overcome them and 
Allah lowers them for us, then that is what we want. Otherwise, morning is quite 
close and there is no doubt that the two messengers must have reached Khalid bin al- 
Walid 4& and that he will come to us at that time." 

Muslims : We do not oppose you in any way. We have already entered the enemy's 
fort and now nothing will save us except the truth of our Jihad coupled with 
resolution and strength. 

38) The fort is captured 

The fort had two gates with a_ corridor in between them. Gatekeepers were stationed 
at the inside while men took turns to sleep there. Damis reached one closed gate and 
found all the guards sleeping in a state of drunkenness. He soon remedied their state 
by slitting their throats. He opened both gates and left them swinging. 

By the time he returned to his men it was already close to dawn. "Good news!" he 
announced, "I opened both gates and killed those around them. So seize the gates 
before the enemy returns there. The enemy is still waiting to be harvested by Muslim 



He then sent one man to Khalid <&> and five to seize the gates while he took the rest 
with him to Yuqanna's quarters. They raised a shout which penetrated throughout the 
fort and then all turned round and went to the gate, each guarding his own post. 

The appearance of the Muslims made the Romans scream, "O no, how did this trick 
succeed against us?" 

Yuqanna called out to his men who came to him from all directions. The Muslims 
shouted, "Allahu Akbar!" in a single voice which made the Romans think that the 
fort was filled with them. 

Ibn 'Aws narrates: 

The Romans fought fiercely while the Muslims fought like savage lions. I did not see 
anyone that day who surpassed Damis in his attacks. After the battle we counted 
seventy-three wounds on his body, all of them on the front. At the height of the battle 
we were twenty-three defending each other. Four were killed: 'Aws bin 'Amir al- 
Hazmi of Banu al-Hazm, Abu Hamid bin Suraqah al-Himyari, al-Fari' bin Musayyib 
at-Tamimi and Fazarah bin Murad al-'Awfi. 

Nawfal bin Salim narrates from his grandfather, Ghuwaylim bin Hazim, who 
was amongst those who accompanied Damis into the fort: 

Some of us were killed and then the following were also killed: Mula'ib bin Miqdam 
al-Hadrami j£> who was amongst those who were with Rasulullah ® at Hudaybiyah 
and Tabuk; Murarah bin Rabi'ah al-'Amiri; and Hilal bin Umayyah the nephew of 
Ka'b bin Malik <&> who had not joined Tabuk and then had verses of the Quran 
revealed in his regard. Only twenty of us remained and the Romans ganged up 
against us. They were more than 500, a veritable wall of iron. We had just given up 
on life when Khalid &> and his army arrived and found us engaged in intense combat. 
When they entered Khalid 4& shouted and the Romans turned away from us. 

When we saw that our difficulty had been relieved we raised shouts of "Allahu 
Akbar! Allahu Akbar!" and men like Dirar 4&> came and started striking the enemy 
necks. When the Romans realised that they could not overcome the Muslims they 
laid down their arms and begged for indemnity in Greek. The Muslims therefore also 
ceased fighting. 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

39) Yuqanna's conversion 

Abu 'Ubaydah d& then arrived with the rest of the army and they told him, "The 
Romans request indemnity. The Muslims have refrained from killing them until you 
give your decision." 

"They have already stopped," he replied and ordered all the men and women to be 
brought before him. When he presented them with Islam the first to accept was 
Yuqanna and a group of his officers. Abu 'Ubaydah 4fr therefore returned their 
wealth and property to them. He forgave the peasants and spared them from 
execution or imprisonment. He extracted their promises to live as subjects of the 
Muslims and to pay Jizyah and then expelled them from the fort. 

The Muslims then took out such quantities of gold and vessels which could not be 
counted. Abu 'Ubaydah took out the state's one-fifth share and divided the rest 
amongst the Muslims. The people began to speak of Damis's plan and amazing feats. 
They tended to his wounds until he recovered. Abu 'Ubaydah 4& granted him a 
double share of the booty and then gathered all the seniors and elders of the Muslims 
to consult them, "Allah to Whom belongs all praise has conquered this fort at the 
hands of the Muslims and there now remains no such place which we fear. Will we 
now attack Antioch which is the Imperial headquarters where all the princes stay with 
Heraclius. What do you feel?" 

40) Yuqanna's dream 

Yuqanna then got up and spoke in fluent 'Arabic, "O commander, Allah, most 
Blessed and High, has helped you people and granted you victory over your enemy. 
This is only because your religion is the correct Din and the Straight Path and your 
Prophet is he who is mentioned in the Bible. He is without doubt the one about whom 
Christ had prophesied. He is the one who separates Truth from falsehood. He is the 
noble orphan Prophet whose parents had died and so his grandfather and uncle 
fostered him. Is this not so?" 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4e> : Yes, he is our Prophet H, but, Yuqanna, your words puzzle me. 
Only yesterday you were fighting us, intending to break our army and cut off our 
fodder and today you speak such words. I had heard that you do not know a word of 
'Arabic, so how did you memorise that speech? 

Yuqanna : There is no deity besides Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 
O commander, this affair amazes you? 



Abu 'Ubaydah : Yes. 

Yuqannd : O commander, know that last night I was worrying about you. You had 
reached our fort and conquered our city whereas we had considered you to be the 
weakest of all nations. I fell asleep with these thoughts on my mind. I then saw in my 
dreams a man more handsome than the moon. His scent was sweeter than strong 
musk and he was accompanied by some people. When I asked them about him they 
replied, "This is Muhammad £&, the Messenger of Allah" 

I said, "If he really is a prophet then let him ask his Lord to teach me 'Arabic." 

He then pointed at me and said, "O Yuqanna, I am Muhammad about whom the 
Messiah had prophesied. I am the Prophet after whom there will be no other prophet. 
If you wish then declare that there is no deity besides Allah and that I, Muhammad, 
am the Messenger of Allah." 

I took his hands, kissed them and embraced Islam*. I then awoke with my mouth 
smelling like strong musk and able to speak 'Arabic. I then went to the apartment of 
my brother, Yflhanna, and opened his stock of books. In one book I found a 
description of Muhammad and his story. Every detail matched and it was also stated 
that the creation which hates him the most are the Jews. Is this true? 

*(Then why did Yuqannd rally his men against Ddmis? It is possible that the narrator 
meant an officer of Yuqannd and not the prince himself - and Allah knows best - 
translator s note.) 

Abu 'Ubaydah 4$» : Yes, the Jews were most intense against us until Allah granted us 
victory against them. We captured their forts and killed their warriors. 

41) Yuqanna's questions 

Yuqannd : Amongst the descriptions that I read was that Allah had instructed the 
Prophet with regard to his Companions, the Muslims, the orphans and the poor. Is 
this true? 

Abu 'Ubaydah : Yes, Allah instructed him with regard to his Companions, 

And lower your wings of mercy to the Believers. [15:88] 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

As for orphans and poor, He says, 

And Allah found you to be ddll so He guided you. He found 

you poor and so He enriched you. So do not be angry with the 

orphan. Do not drive the beggar away. [93:6-9] 

Yuqanna : Why does Allah say, 

And Allah found you to be ddll and so He guided you. 

"Dall" means astray and he is in fact very noble in the Eyes of Allah? 

Mu 'dth bin Jabal : Here it means "wandering" to get to Our Company, so we guided 
you to it and made it easy for you to reach the Road of Manifestation. We made you 
stand in the place of gaining Vision. We found you "lost" in the sea of searching, 
sailing the ship of destruction so We guided you to the coast of Truth and brought 
you into the shadow of Realities. This is so that your heart will dis-incline from those 
other than Us and away from confusion in the abyss of your own desires and to draw 
you to desiring the moment of Meeting and Reception. You had no direct knowledge 
from Us or other information handed down to you. We revealed to you how to gain 
Our pleasure and showed you the reality of Our decree. 

O Yuqanna, do you not know that nothing is more fulfilling to a Believer than 
knowledge, nothing is more profitable than tolerance, nothing is more valuable than 
Din, no friend is more beautiful than intelligence, no companion is more evil than 
ignorance, nothing is more esteemed than piety, nothing is more satisfying than 
leaving base desires, no deed is better than pondering, no good is higher than 
patience, no evil is worse than pride, no medicine is nicer than leniency, no disease 
is more painful than stupidity, no messenger is more just than the truth, no guide is a 
better advisor than honesty, no poverty is more low than greed, no wealth is more ill— 



fortuned than hoarding, no life is superior then good health, no lifestyle is more 
enjoyable than chastity, no worship is higher than humility, no ascetism is preferable 
to contentment, no guard is more protecting than silence and no absent thing is closer 
than death. 

Yuqannd : La ilaha illallah! That is what I read in the books of my brother, Yuhanna. 
These things are also mentioned in the Gospel and Torah. 

He then fell into prostration, kissed the ground out of thanks and said, "All praise be 
to Allah Who guided me to this Din. By Allah! He has anchored this Din in my heart 
and I know it to be the Truth. I will now fight for Allah's sake just as I used to fight 
in obedience to the Devil. By Allah! I will help this Din until I join my brother, 

He then wept bitterly at what he had done to his brother. 

Abu 'Ubaydah : Allali says with regard to the brothers of Yusuf, 

i_» Jug 

There is no blame on you today. May Allah forgive you. He is 
the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. [12:92] 

Your brother is in the highest stages of Jannah with the virgin damsels. As for you - 
the moment you embraced Islam you became free of all sins just as the day your 
mother gave birth to you. 

Yuqanna continued weeping and said, "I make the Muslims my witnesses that every 
Jihad I wage and every time I kill a disbeliever it should be recorded in my brother's 
register of deeds. It is compulsory upon me to fight in the Path of AMh until I erase 
my past misdeeds." 

42) The next destination 

Abu 'Ubaydah : O slave of Allah [Abdullah], * tell us where we should go now. 

*(It is not specified if Yuqannd took the name of 'Abdullah or if he was merely being 
called 'slave of Allah' out of respect - translator 's note) 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 

Yuqannd : O commander, the fort of 'Aziz is strong and impregnable. It is heavily 
manned and has ample food and equipment. My paternal cousin, Darius son of 
Jufannas, rules it. He is a strong, great warrior who is skilled in both spear and sword. 
If you leave him alone and head for Antioch he will raid Aleppo and Qinsarin and 
spread his evil. 

Abu 'Ubaydah : O slave of Allah, Allah has spoken the truth through your tongue. 
Do you have any strategy to propose? 

Yuqannd : Yes, I will mount my horse accompanied by 100 Muslim horsemen which 
you can give me. We will disguise ourselves as Romans and I will lead them. An 
'Arab general will then follow us with light steeds. My 100 men will keep ahead of 
them a distance of one Farsakh (5.5 km) as if we are fleeing from you and the 1,000 
are in pursuit of us. When we reach ' Azaz we will shout out. No doubt its master, 
Darius, will come out to meet us. If he questions me I will say that I was forced to 
become a Muslim and then fled with the 'Arabs in pursuit of me. Once he hears that 
he will take us into the fort. At that moment the 1,000 should be waiting at a nearby 
village. Once half the night has passed we will go to the centre of the fort and attack 
our enemies. By the time of Salatul Fajr the 1,000 should come to our aid. 

Abu 'Ubaydah's * face lit up and he asked Khalid * and Mu'ath * about the plan. 
They said, "O Trusted One of the Ummah, it is a good plan if this man does not 
betray us and return to his old religion." 

Abu 'Ubaydah : 

Verily your Rabb is awaiting in ambush. [89:14] 

Yuqannd : By Allah! I have completely left my religion for your Din after I used to 
venerate icons and crosses. Now nothing remains in my heart except love for Allah, 
Muhammad & the chief of the descendants of ' Adnan and Jihad on behalf of the best 
of all faiths. Allah is witness to what I say. My words are as true as "There is no deity 
besides Allah," and as true as "Muhammad is His Slave and Mesenger" (whom I had 
seen in my dream). If you suspect me to be the opposite of what I claim then do not 
let me do this. 

Abu 'Ubaydah : O slave of Allah, if you wish the Muslims well and will not betray 
them then Allah will help every endeavour which is for His sake. So follow honesty 


Futuhushdm * 

and you will attain success, for our Din is based on honesty. Follow the ways of your 
believing brothers. A truthful Believer is content with whatever little food he gets, is 
content with clothing which is enough to cover his private parts and is content with 
whatever his home is. So you should not be saddened at the loss of your rule because 
He Whom you seek is Eternal. The luxuries of this world are finite while the 
Hereafter is best and eternal. Today you are free from polytheism and bear in mind 
that that the world is a prison for the Believer and a paradise for the Disbeliever. The 
Believer has conviction that the grave is his bed, solitude is his gathering, taking 
lesson is his thoughts, the Quran is his speech, the Rabb is his friend, remembrance 
of Allah is his companion, ascetism is his associate, grief is mark, modesty is his 
badge, hunger is his gravy, wisdom is his conversation, the ground is his carpet, piety 
is his provision, silence is his booty, patience is his reliance, trusting Allah is 
sufficient for him, intelligence is his guide, worship is his occupation and Paradise is 
his abode. O Yuqanna, the Messiah has said, "I am amazed at he who spends his 
night without thinking of Allah whereas He remembers him, at the hankerer of the 
world whereas death hankers after him, at the builder of palaces whereas the grave 
is his home." 

Our Prophet 'M> has said, "There are four such things that if they are given to someone 
he is given another four things." 

The Book of Allah explains what these things are. 

Whoever is given the blessing of remembering Allah is in turn 
remembered by Allah, for He says, 

4. 4? i 

Remember Me and I will remember you. [2:152] 

Whoever is granted the ability to make du'a is granted acceptance, for 
Allah Most High says, 

Call unto Me and I will respond. [40:60] 
Whoever is granted gratitude is given an increase in that bounty for 


Part 4: Baytul Muqaddas 
which he is grateful for. AllSh Most High says, 

If you are grateful unto me I will grant you an increase. [14:7] 

Finally, whoever is granted guidance to repent is forgiven. Allah Most 
High says, 

Repent unto your Rabbfor he is Most Forgiving. [71:10] 

'Amir bin Qubaysah al-Yashkuri narrates from Yunus bin 'Abdil A'la to whom 
it was read out that Shahr bin Hawshab narrated from his grandfather, 'Amu- 
bin Zayd: 

I participated with Abu 'Ubaydah 4k in the conquests of Qinsarin and Aleppo and 
spent a lot of time with those Romans who entered our Din. I did not see any among 
them more hardworking, more sincere in his belief, more ambitious in his intentions, 
more striving in Jihad and more vigorous in battle against the Romans than Yuqanna. 
By Allah! He was well-meaning towards the Muslims, waged Jihad against the 
Disbelievers and pleased the Rabb of the Worlds. He achieved such feats against the 
Romans which no-one else of his nationality could do and this was after the Muslims 
had suffered much at his hands at the Aleppo fort. He had not allowed the Muslims 
to sleep. He had not spared them day or night and many suffered martyrdom due to 
him - may Allah be pleased with them all. 





Part 5: Antioch 


1 . The 'Azaz expedition 

2. Yuqanna is captured 

3. Darius 's son embraces Islam 

4. Conquest of 'Azaz 

5. Luke embraces Islam 

6. Conversion of 'Azaz 

7. Yuqanna is appointed governor of Antioch 

8. Yuqanna's men reach Antioch 

9. Heraclius's daughter 

10. Abu 'Ubaydah 4» writes to 'Umar <$> 

1 1 . Dirar <& is captured 

12. Safinah 4& and the lion 

13. The Sahabah 4> are brought before Heraclius 

14. The revelations of Rasulullah S 

1 5 . Description of Rasulullah S 

16. Dirar ^b and the Patriarch 

17. Muslims reach Iron Bridge 

18. The great Romans and 'Arabs 

19. The Patriarch becomes philosophical 

20. 'Amir becomes a Christian 

2 1 . The fall of Iron Bridge 

22. Another assassination attempt on 'Umar <&> 

23. Damis is captured 



24. Damis escapes 

25. The prophecies of Great Rumiyah 

26. Falantius comes to Antioch 

27. Falantius invites his people to embrace Islam 

28. Falantius goes to embrace Islam 

29. Rasulullah predicts the fall of Antioch 

30. The Battle of Antioch 

3 1 . Victory 

32. The conquest of Antioch 

33. 'Umar's <&> instructions 

34. Do we cross the mountain-passes? 

35. Beyond the mountains 

36. The Roman army 

37. The Battle of the Meadow of Tribes 

38. Damis is captured and freed 

39. Romans are reinforced 

40. Capture of 'Abdullah bin Huthafah *> 

4 1 . The Romans sneak off 

42. 'Abdullah & and Heraclius 

43. Accidental drinking bout 

44. Everything glorifies Allah 

45. Constantine sends for an envoy 

46. 'Amr & and Constantine 

47. 'Amr <& invites the Romans to Islam 

48. The Battle 


Part 5: Antioch 

49. My reliance upon Allah is stronger than your iron 

50. We will meet at the pond of Rasulullah S 

51. Repentance of Tulayhah 

52. History of Tulayhah 

53. Constatine flees 

54. Yuqanna's ambush 

55. Conquest of Tripoli 

56. Yuqanna is betrayed 

57. Basil and Rasulullah S 
5 8 . Conquest of Tyre 

59. Conquest of Caesarea 


Part 5 


1) The Azaz expedition 

After Abu Ubaydah 4* had finished advising Yuqanna, he gave him 100 cavalry, all 
disguised as Romans. They were ten each from ten tribes viz: Jay, Fihr, Khuza'ah, 
Shanis, Nimyar, Hadxamawt, Himyar, Bahilah, Tamim and Murad. Each group had 
its own leader: Khaz'al bin al-'Asim over Tay; Fihr bin Muzahim over Fihr; Salim 
bin 'Adi over Khuza'ah; Masriiq bin Sinan over Shanis; Asad bin Hazin over 
Nimyar; Majid bin 'Umayrah over Hadramawt; Thul Kala' al-JJimyari, the king of 
the Himyar over his tribe; Sayf bin Qadih over Bahilah; Sa'd bin Hasan over Tamim; 
and Malik bin Fayyad over Murad. 

When their ranks were completed Abu 'Ubaydah 4b said, "May Allah have mercy on 
you. I am sending you with this man who has gifted his life to Allah and His Rasul 
Sfo. Each group will have its own sub-commander. I have appointed him over you, so 
listen and obey him for as long as Allah pleases." 

They dressed, mounted and left with Yuqanna. Once they were at a distance of one 
Farsakh (5.5 km) Abu 'Ubaydah 4b sent 1,000 horsemen after them under the 
command of Malik bin al-Ashtar an-Nakh'i. He said to Malik, "Go behind them and 
see what transpires with this pious slave. When you get close to the fort hide until 
just before dawn and then go to the aid of your brothers. Go, may Allah guide you." 

Malik & then led his troops and journeyed for the rest of the day. At night they hid 
in an uninhabited village, close to the fort. As for Yuqanna, he headed for the fort on 
a different road. 

Sulayman bin 'Abdillah al-Yashkuri narrates from ash-Shadid bin Mazin who 
narrates from his grandfather, Khaz'al bin 'Asim: 

I was amongst the horsemen Abu 'Ubaydah * had despatched with Yuqanna. When 
we saw 'Azaz, Yuqanna said to us, "O 'Arab youth, we have reached the enemy, so 



do not speak because your language will reveal you to the Romans. I will translate 
for you. Be alert. When you see me attacking the master of the fort attack in the name 
of Allah Most High." 

They then went on ahead, Yuqanna not knowing what had been destined for him. 

Sulayman bin 'Abdillah al-Yashkuri narrates from 'Abdurahman al- 
Mazini (who is one of those who wrote on the conquest of Syria) who narrates 
from al-Akwa' bin 'Abbad al-Mazinf: 

I was with Malik al-Ashtar &> amongst the 1,000 following Yuqanna. When we 
reached the village we stayed there, awaiting morning. Suddenly we saw an army 
coming from the western side of the village. Malik & left us and returned in a short 
while with a Christian 'Arab prisoner and said to us, "O youth, listen to what he 

Muslims : What does he say? 

Malik & : Question him, he will answer you. 

Muslims : From which people are you? 

Tdriq : From Ghassan, Jabalah bin al-Ayham's tribe. 

Muslims : What is your name? 

Tdriq : Tariq bin Shayban. 

Malik & : O Tariq, in the name of 'Arab mutual responsibility do not hide anything 
from us which you know about our enemy. 

Tdriq : By God! I will not hide anything I know. Protect yourselves before your 
enemy arrives. 

Malik <fc : How is that? 

Tdriq : Last night our spy, 'Ismah bin 'Afrajah, came to us from you. He had heard 
Yuqanna's entire plot against the master of 'Azaz. He wrote it out on a piece of cloth 
which he folded and tied to a bird and sent to 'Azaz. When the governor read it he 
sent me to the governor of ar-Rawindat, Luke son of Shas, requesting reinforcements 
against you. I took the message to him and he is now practically here with 500 
cavalry, so get ready. 


Part 5: Antioch 

2) Yuqanna is captured 

As for Yuqann§, he reached the fort to find the enemy prepared and waiting outside. 
The accursed Darius had with him 3,000 Roman cavalry, 1,000 Christian 'Arab 
cavalry and the refugees from the countryside. When Yuqanna came, he did not let 
him suspect anything. He came walking to welcome him and pretended to kiss his 
bridle. Then using an extremely sharp knife which he had been hiding in his hand he 
cut Yuqanna's horse's band and pulled him down. When Yuqanna fell down on his 
head he released the 4,000 cavalry against the Sahabah &, giving them no respite. 
They were all captured and tied up. 

Darius spat in Yuqanna's face and said, "Christ and the Cross became angry at you 
when you deserted your religion and entered the religion of your enemies. By Christ! 
After I behead all the 'Arabs I will definitely send you to merciful Caesar to crucify 
you at the gate of Antioch." 

He then took them all into the fort. 

It was purely Allah's favour to the Muslims that the spy did not write to Darius about 
Malik al-Ashtar 4&. Malik * alerted his men and tied up the Christian. They then 
waited in ambush for the arrival of the governor of ar-Rawindat. When much of the 
night had passed they heard the pounding of hooves. Malik said nothing. When the 
enemy reached the middle of the ambush point they sprang at them, two Muslims 
grabbing one Christian. Not a single one escaped. The Muslims dressed in their 
clothes and raised their cross in front of them. 

Malik 4fe turned to Tariq and said, "Will you accept the Din of Allah and His Prophet 
Muhammad? Belief will wipe out your past disbelief and you will be our brother." 

Tariq : My heart is already with you. May Allah not deal well with that man who took 
us away from Islam. I am of that group who embraced Islam with Jabalah at the 
hands of 'Umar. We have heard that Muhammad had said, "Kill him who changes his 

Malik 4& : You have spoken the truth, but that is cancelled by reciting, "La ilaha 
illallah," because Allah says, 



...Except those who repent and perform righteous deeds. Those 
people will have Allah change their evil into good. [25: 70] 

Rasulullah & accepted the repentance of Wahshi, the killer of his uncle, Hamzah •&, 
then Allah revealed certain verses. 

Tdriq (happy) : Then I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and that 
Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger. O Malik, my broken heart has been healed. 
May Allah take you by the hand and save you on the day of Judgement. 

Malik 4b (rejoicing) : May Allah guide you and keep your faith firm. O slave of 
Allah, I wish you to do something that will make up for your past. 

Tdriq: What do you wish? 

Malik & : Go and tell Darius of Luke's coming. 

Tariq : I will do that if Allah Most High wills. If you are suspicious about me then 
send with me someone you rely upon to hear what I say. Half the night has already 
passed so security is heavy and the gates are locked. I will therefore have to shout 
from the edge of the ditch. 

3) Darius's son embraces Islam 

Malik sent his paternal cousin, Rashid bin Muqbis, with him and ordered him to 
remain alert. They left for the fort and found it to be heavily guarded. The Romans 
were striking their gongs and were raising a commotion at the centre of the fort. Tariq 
then said to Rashid, "This is certainly a battle." 

They both kept silent and found it to be as Tariq had said. 

The cause of the battle was that Darius's son, Lawan, who was a brave youth, had 
been sent by his father with presents for Yuqanna due to their common relationship. 
He had remained with Yuqanna for several months, living in opulent quarters. On 
Good Friday he entered the cathedral which is today the Jami' Masjid and saw 


Part 5: Antioch 

Yuqanna's daughter who was surrounded by her slave-girls, attendants and 
splendour. He fell in love with her but kept his passion secret. 

He returned to 'Azaz where he complained to his mother about being in love with 
Yuqanna's daughter. She loved him deeply because he was Darius's only son* and 
said, "I will speak to your father about this and tell him to send a proposal for her to 
her father. Yuqanna will give her to you in marriage and give you whatever wealth 
you desire." 

*(Darius definitely had other sons. Perhaps what is meant here is that Lawan is his 
only son from her - translator's note) 

All the while Lawan remained hopelessly in love with her. It was at that time that 
they had to pay attention to the 'Arab invasion. 

When Darius captured Yuqanna and the 100 Muslims, he imprisoned them in his 
son's quarters and ordered him to guard them. Lawan thought, "By my faith! Our 
cousin, Yuqanna has more religious knowledge than my father. If he did not accept 
that the 'Arabs are on the truth he would never have followed them after fighting 
them so fiercely. Also, Caesar's armies could never match them, God helped them 
despite them being so weak. My heart is still attached to his daughter. I will go and 
untie the Muslims and enter their religion after my cousin promises to give me his 
daughter in marriage. He is certainly on the Truth and I will get what I want and 
marry her." 

He then went to Yuqanna, sat before him and said, "O uncle, I have decided to set 
you and your men free. I prefer you to my father, my family and my realm. You know 
that to leave one's family is very hard, but I choose faith over disbelief because I 
know their religion to be correct. However, I stipulate that you marry your daughter 
to me; the dowry I offer is that I will free you and your men." 

Yuqanna : O son, there is no way that you will marry my daughter if your conversion 
is for worldly reasons. If however you are sincere then Allah will reward you and will 
grant you your request. You will attain honour in this world and the next. 

Lawan : I sincerely testify that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is 
the Messenger of Allah. 

He then untied the Muslims, gave them weapons and said to them, "Be ready. I am 
going to my father who is drunk with wine. I will kill him and then you can attack 
with Allah's blessings and for His pleasure." 



Yuqanna then said to his 100 men, "Be witness that I give my daughter to him in 
marriage and his freeing us is the dowry." 

4) Conquest of 'Azaz 

Lawan went to his father to find him already beheaded and surrounded by his 

(One text mentions 'sisters ' but this is refuted in section 6 - translator 's note) 

Lawan : Who did this to my father? 

Brothers : We. 

Lawan : Why? 

Brothers : We did it for Allah's pleasure. We heard what you said to Yuqanna and his 
men and feared that your plan would not succeed and then they would join forces 
against your men. Our father would find out and kill you. We therefore attacked him 
before you. 

Lawan was happy at this and returned to inform the Muslims. They started 
celebrating from his quarters all the way as they moved to the fort's centre. They 
raised their voiced with, "La ilaha illallah! Allahu Akbar!" and recited salutations 
upon Rasulullah ®. They slew any Romans they encountered on the way. The noise 
continued in this manner and the Romans rushed to combat the Muslims. It was at 
that moment that Tariq and his companion arrived. 

TSriq narrates: 

We heard a clamour and therefore returned to Malik <& to inform him of what we had 
heard. Malik 4* then commanded his men, "Mount your horses to go to your 

They all mounted except for 100 who remained behind to guard the prisoners. 

As the Muslims neared 'Azaz, Yuqanna said to Lawan, "Reinforcements from the 
Muslims are supposed to arrive." Lawan went and saw that they had already arrived 
and opened a secret gate for them. As Malik's * men captured the fort they 
proclaimed, "Allahu Akbar! Allah has conquered. The Disbelievers have been , 


Part 5: Antioch 

The Romans then threw down their weapons and begged for immunity. The Muslims 
therefore stopped fighting and took them all prisoner. 

When Malik 4* thanked Yuqanna and his men, Yuqanna told him about Lawan. 
Malik 4* replied, "When Allah desires something He creates the means for its 

Qays bin 'Uqbah narrates from SafwSn who narrates from 'Amr 4*> bin 
'Abdirrahm&n who narrates from Jubayr who narrates from his father: 

I asked Abu Lubabah bin al-Munthir 4* about the conquest of 'Azaz and the murder 
of Darius. I did not know the story and wanted the correct version. He said: 

After the battle Malik 4*> gathered the prisoners, booty, robes, gold, silver and vessels. 
He ordered these to be taken out of the fort and appointed Qays bin Sa'd & over the 
fort. Like me, Qays 4* had lost an eye at al-Yarmuk and both of us had participated 
in the Battle of Badr with Rasulullah ®. Absolutely everything was taken out of 
'Azaz. Malik & walked around 'Azaz, looking for Darius and found him dead. 

Malik 4* : Who killed this accursed man? 

Lawan : My elder brother, Luke. 

5) Luke embraces Islam 

Malik 4* called for Luke and said, "How can you kill your own father? We have 
never heard of any Roman besides you killing his father." 

Luke : I did it out of love for your religion. There is in the chapel of this fort an 
ancient priest. We studied the Gospel and Roman sciences under him. One day when 
the two of us were alone in the chapel I said to him, "O Abu al-Munthir, do you not 
see how the 'Arabs have conquered most of Syria and have defeated the armies of 
Caesar? We never thought that they would be capable of that because there is no 
nation weaker than them. God helped them despite their weakness. Have you read 
anything about this in the Roman books and prophecies or the Greek prophecies?" 

"O my son," he replied, "Yes, I have read about it. In fact, we had already informed 
Caesar before these things started happening. He gathered all the patricians, princes, 
bishops etc. and told them that the 'Arabs would certainly rule the land beneath his 
throne. We have also been informed that their Prophet said - The Earth was folded 



up for me and I saw its East and West. Soon the Empire of my Ummah will conquer 
all that was folded up for me." 

I asked, "O father, what do you say about their prophet?" 

He replied, "O my son, it is written in our scriptures that God will send a prophet in 
al-Hijaz and Christ, Jesus son of Mary, had prophesied about him. However, we do 
not know if this is him or not." 

I then realised that he was withholding information from me, fearing that I would 
expose him. When I saw Yuqanna and his men captured I said to myself, "Yuqanna 
killed his brother, Yuhanna, and had resisted the 'Arabs. Now the same man 
embraces their religion. This can only be because he recognises them to be on the 
Truth. Now go and kill your father, free Yuqanna and his men and enter their religion 
for without doubt it is the true one." Then when my father fell asleep in a drunken 
stupor I killed him and went to free Yuqanna, but found that Lawan had overtaken 

(This would mean that the other brothers overheard Lawan speaking to Yuqanna. 
Luke might have been the actual killer while the others were accomplices. When he 
went to free the Muslims they were already freed '- translator's note) 

Malik 4b ■ O boy, why did you do this? 

Luke : Out of love for your religion. I bear witness that there is no deity besides Allah 
and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 

Malik 4t : May Allah accept and guide you. 

Malik 4b then left 'Azaz, leaving Sa'id bin 'Amir in charge of Yuqanna's 100. The 
men of ar-Rawindat were brought before him and he offered them Islam. When they 
refused he had them beheaded. 

6) Conversion of 'Azaz 

'Abdul Malik bin Muhammad narrates from Hassan bin Ka'b who narrates 
from 'Abdul W&hid who narrates the conquest of 'Azaz as has been mentioned 
from 'Abdullah bin Qurt al-Azdf *: 

As for those who say that Darius was killed by his wife and daughters, their report is 
wrong - and Allah knows best. 


Part 5: Antioch 

When Malik &> intended departing, the prisoners were brought before him. They 
were 1,000 youths, 2,000 women and girls, 245 elders and monks and 180 elderly 
people. He noticed an old man whose appearance inspired awe and said, "If my 
insight is correct, then this is the priest about whom Luke and Lawan informed me." 

He called the two brothers and asked, "Is this the priest about whom Luke spoke?" 

Luke : Yes. 

Malik * : Old man, you are a scholar of the scriptures, so how can you conceal the 
truth from those who are entitled to it? 

Priest : By God! I never concealed the truth from those who are entitled to it. I feared 
that the Romans would kill me because the truth is heavy. My brothers and sons had 
already been killed for the sake of truth so I feared what would happen to me. 

Malik <&, : Will you enter our Din? 

Priest : I first want to question you about certain matters which I have read in the 

Malik 4» : Certainly. 

As the priest was about to speak the fort was suddenly filled with screams which 
terrified the people. Malik & jumped to see what was happening, thinking that the 
Romans had betrayed him. He met a group of Muslims who said, "O commander, get 
ready. We see dust rising from the Manbij and Baza' ah road and do not know what 
it is." 

Malik 4e and his men mounted, waiting for whoever was coming. When they arrived 
they appeared to be Muslim cavalry with prisoners and booty followed by 1,000 
more Muslim horsemen. They were a raiding expedition Abu 'Ubaydah 4fe had sent 
under al-Fadl bin al-'Abbas 4t>- They had raided Manbij, al-Bab and Baza'ah and had 
gained much booty. After salam, al-Fadl &> asked Malik «fc his story, so he told him 
that Allah had conquered 'Azaz and degraded her people. He narrated Yuqanna's 
story and said, "I cannot leave until I question this priest." 

Al-Fadl <& : O priest, say what you have to say. 

Priest : Tell me what did God create before the Heavens and Earth? 

Al-Fadl i& : First He created the Tablet and the Pen. It is also said, "the Throne and 
the Seat," or "Time and Era," or "Numbers and Calculation." It is said that he first 



created a jewel. He looked at it and then it became water. He then created His Throne 
as a sapphire above the water. He gazed at the water which stirred and thundered. 
Vapour arose from which Allah created the sky and then the Earth. It is said that He 
first created Intelligence so that the creation may benefit from it. It is also said that 
the first creation was Light and Darkness and He demanded that they confess to His 
divinity. The Darkness refused while Light obeyed. So He created Paradise from the 
Light because he was pleased with it and created Hell from the Darkness because He 
was angry at it. He created the blessed souls from the Light and the wretched souls 
from the Darkness. Everyone returns to his real abode. It is said that He first created 
a dot. Through His awesome Gaze it dissolved and became the letter alif with which 
He began His Honourable Book. Pure is He Who made his Book from a single dot. 
He made the creation from a single dot and gives death by taking their souls and will 
revive them through the blowing of the Trumpet. 

Priest : I testify that there is no deity besides AllSh and that Muhammad is the 
Messenger of Allah. This is knowledge which only the Prophets of Allah possessed. 

Seeing this, all the people of 'Azaz embraced Islam except for a handful. 

7) Yuqanna is appointed governor of Antioch 

'Amir bin Yahya narrates from Asad bin Muslim who narrates from Darim bin 
'Ayyash who narrates from his grandfather: 

The people of 'Azaz embraced Islam because the priest whom they trusted had 
embraced Islam. Malik * and al-Fadl & then returned to Aleppo. Yuqanna then said, 
"By Allah! How can I show my face to the Muslims when my plan was unsuccessful? 
I will now go to Antioch. Perhaps Allah will grant me victory." 

Al-Fadl & : Allah Most High said to his Prophet S, 

You have no say in the matter. [3:128] 
So you should not fill your heart with grief. 


Part 5: Antioch 

Yuqannd : I swear that I will not return until Allah whitens my face so that I can face 
my Muslim brothers again. 

Yuqanna was accompanied by 200 of his tribesmen who now had firm faith and 
whose families were still in Aleppo. He led them to Antioch. As they neared the city 
he selected four of them and ordered the rest to come to him after four days. The five 
of them would take the Harim road as if they were fleeing from the 'Arabs according 
to a plan by Yuqanna. The rest would take the Amah road. Yuqanna said, "We will 
meet in Antioch." 

The two parties went their separate ways. Yuqanna rode on until he reached the 
monastery of Sam'an which overlooks the sea. At Sam'an there were horsemen and 
footmen guarding the roads. When the Romans saw the Muslims they went to 
question them. Yuqanna said, "I am the prince of Aleppo. I am fleeing from the 

The police chief then ordered them to be taken to Heraclius. 

They arrived at Antioch to find Heraclius praying in the Cathedral of Youth. When 
he finished the police brought the five Muslims to him and said, "O Caesar, Peter, the 
chief of police is at Sam'an Monastery. He sent this man, who claims to be the prince 
of Aleppo, together with these four." 

Heraclius : O Yuqanna, why have you come here? I have heard that you entered the 
religion of the 'Arabs. 

Yuqannd : O Caesar, you have heard correctly. However, I only did that so that I 
could escape their oppression, their ugly sight and their horrid stench. I said to them, 
"I will bring 'Azaz and its governor into your hands." I then went with 100 of their 
chiefs and told them to send 1,000 after me. I secretly intended that once they had 
entered the fort I would capture them and hand them over to you. However, Darius 
jumped to conclusions against me and did not understand my secret. He believed 
what his spy told him and disbelieved me. He therefore imprisoned us. The 'Arabs 
arrived and managed to kill the people because Luke had killed his father and freed 
the 'Arabs and myself. During the fight these four men and I escaped and fled to you. 
If I had no love for my faith would I have killed my brother, Yuhanna, and persevered 
against the 'Arab siege for a full year? 

The patricians and princes who were present backed him and said, "O Caesar, 
Yuqanna is truthful. His deeds and bravery will soon become apparent to you." 



Heraclius's face brightened. He gave Yuqanna the robe he was wearing, a belt and a 
crown and said, "If Aleppo has been taken from you then I now appoint you the Lord- 
Governor of Antioch." 

8) Yuqanna's men reach Antioch 

While Yuqanna was thanking Heraclius the commandant of Iron Bridge came and 
said that 200 Aleppan horsemen had arrived at Iron Bridge. They claimed to be 
Romans of Yuqann